Prep Basketball

Grundy Center evens the score with Cascade at girls' state basketball tournament

Spartans seal it from the free-throw line, return to 2A final

DES MOINES — Mike Sconsa was willing to extend the game into the evening if necessary.

Cascade began fouling, down 10 points with four minutes left. Smart plan, but Grundy Center foiled it.

The top-ranked Spartans made 15 of 18 free throws in the final 3:24 and ousted the fifth-rated, defending-champion Cougars, 59-49, in a Class 2A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Friday morning at Wells Fargo Arena.

“They hit every single one,” said Sconsa, the Cougars’ head coach, and he wasn’t far off.

Grundy Center (24-0) avenged last year’s state-final defeat against the Cougars, and returns to the title game. The Spartans face No. 3 Treynor (25-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday for all of the marbles.

“They beat us last year, so this was redemption,” Grundy Center’s Hailey Wallis said. “It’s good that we got to play them again to achieve that.”

Cascade’s vaunted 2-3 zone gave the Spartans fits for a while, and the Cougars led 17-16 at halftime. Nicole McDermott’s three-point play gave the Cougars (23-2) a 20-16 advantage, then the Spartans put up 21 points in the quarter — 12 by Wallis — to take command.

“Those shots helped, but more went into it than that,” Wallis said. “I got some good passes, and our defense was phenomenal.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Grundy Center enjoyed a 40-26 advantage when Wallis started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Cascade rallied within 46-42 with 2:44 remaining when McDermott scored, was fouled after the shot and sank both free throws.

“We gave it our all,” McDermott said. “We knew we didn’t have many fouls and still had a lot of timeouts, so we could extend the game.

“It hurt us that we came out slow in the third quarter.”

The Spartans made too many foul shots to allow the Cougars to get any closer. They shot 37 in the game, making 25. Wallis was 10 of 14 and finished with a team-high 25 points.

Maddie McMartin added 10 points for the winners.

McDermott paced Cascade with 26 points, converting on 8 of 11 shots and all 10 of her free throws. Abby Welter scored 10 points.

“This isn’t what we were hoping for,” Welter said. “But Grundy has a great team, they hit shots and we couldn’t get there.”

Cascade couldn’t duplicate last year’s glory, but Sconsa called this season “the most fun I’ve had coaching.

“It’s the smartest team I’ve had,” he said. “We didn’t have any divas. We had a great season, now let’s go get better for next year.”

GRUNDY CENTER 59, CASCADE 49

2A State Semifinal, at Des Moines

CASCADE (49): Nicole McDermott 8-11 10-10 26, Skylar Dolphin 2-7 0-0 5, Jordan Simon 2-8 1-3 6, Abby Welter 5-13 0-3 10, Rachel Trumm 0-7 2-2 2, Robyn Takes 0-1 0-0 0, Jess Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0, Faith Bower 0-0 0-0 0, Ally Hoffman 0-1 0-0 0, Molly McElmeel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-48 13-18 49.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

GRUNDY CENTER (59): Hailey Wallis 6-11 10-14 25, Maddie McMartin 3-3 3-4 10, Sydney Mathews 1-3 2-2 5, Kylie Willis 1-7 1-2 3, Brooke Flater 1-5 4-8 6, Reegan Zinkula 2-6 4-4 9, Sarah Lindeman 0-2 1-2 1, Cora Saak 0-1 0-0 0, Lainy Thoren 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 14-39 25-37 59.

Halftime: Cascade 17, Grundy Center 16. 3-point goals: Cascade 2-9 (Dolphin 1-3, Simon 1-4, Welter 0-1, Trumm 0-1), Grundy Center 6-18 (Wallis 3-7, McMartin 1-1, Mathews 1-2, Zinkula 1-5, Lindeman 0-1, Saak 0-1, Thoren 0-1). Team fouls: Cascade 22, Grundy Center 17. Fouled out: Dolphin. Rebounds: Cascade 28 (McDermott 6), Grundy Center 38 (Flater 10). Assists: Cascade 5 (McDermott 2), Grundy Center 8 (Willis, Flater 3). Steals: Cascade 9 (McDermott 4), Grundy Center 9 (Wallis 3). Turnovers: Cascade 16, Grundy Center 16.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.