Marion shoots its way back to the 4A girls' state basketball final

No. 1 Indians make 13 of 26 from deep in 75-54 conquest of Mason City

DES MOINES — It’s simple math.

Just like they had in the previous round, Marion shot 50 percent from 3-point range. This time it was 13 of 26.

Winning numbers.

The top-ranked Indians secured a spot in their third consective state final, hitting from long distance — from all angles — and taking down No. 4 Mason City, 75-54, in a Class 4A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

“Everyone has the green light,” said Kayba Laube, who has the greenest of them all. “If we have the shot, we’re going to take it.”

And if they take it, there’s a break-even chance that they’re going to make it.

As they did in a first-round rout of Cedar Rapids Xavier (12 of 24), the Indians (23-1) made half of their shots from the perimeter. That’s tough to keep pace with.

“We’re all in the gym consistently,” said sophomore Ella Van Weelden, who made 5 of 10 shots from distance in a 16-point effort, and also pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. “Sometimes we get in a little trouble; the janitors want to clean the floor.”

Marion advances to the championship game against No. 2 North Scott (21-3) at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Lancers hammered No. 6 Sioux City Heelan, 75-47, Thursday.

It’s a rematch of the 2017 final, won by North Scott in overtime. Marion got back last year and beat Grinnell for the title.


“Every year, it gets more exciting,” Laube said. “We want the whole thing.”

Laube led the Indians with 20 points.

Marion didn’t trail all game. Mason City (16-9) stayed close through the first quarter, then the Indians scored seven straight points — capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Sadie Struchen — for a 27-16 lead, and it was 32-23 at halftime.

Struchen entered the state tournament averaging a mere 2.7 points per game, but has been a welcome surprise here. She scored nine points Thursday.

“She has stepped up big time,” Leah Van Weelden said. “We’re super glad to have her.”

Riley Wright added 14 points, and Leah Van Weelden joined Struchen with nine.

University of Iowa signee Megan Meyer paced Mason City with 23 points. Her 3-pointer brought the Mohawks within 48-38 late in the third quarter, but Marion scored the next seven and took a 17-point lead into the final period.

Marion is 73-3 in the past three seasons, 93-8 in the past four.

“When we started coming down here, we came with the mentality of letting it fly, playing to win,” Marion Coach Corby Laube said. “We’re shooting with confidence.”


4A State Semifinal, at Des Moines

MASON CITY (54): Megan Meyer 7-23 3-4 23, Anna Lensing 5-9 0-0 11, Anna Deets 5-13 0-0 11, Jaeda Whitner 0-2 0-0 0, Megan Hollander 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Thomas 0-1 0-2 0, Ali Rood 1-4 0-0 2, Emma Hollander 0-1 0-0 0, Sami Miller 1-1 1-2 3, Brianna Notemann 0-0 0-0 0, Brooke Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Ashley Latham 0-0 0-0 0, Jada Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Tiegen Barkema 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 4-8 54.

MARION (75): Leah Van Weelden 3-7 1-2 9, Randi Wright 1-3 2-2 4, Riley Wright 5-8 2-3 14, Kayba Laube 5-9 8-9 20, Ella Van Weelden 5-14 1-2 16, Bri Fentress 1-1 0-0 3, Stacey Sloan 0-0 0-0 0, Jordyn Dunn 0-0 0-0 0, Sadie Struchen 2-4 4-4 9, Jo Hartke 0-0 0-0 0, Molly Dunne 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Steffen 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Steffen 0-0 0-0 0, Cloee Kraft 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Prier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-46 18-22 75.


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3-point goals: Mason City 8-28 (Meyer 6-14, Lensing 1-3, Deets 1-4, Whitner 0-2, Thomas 0-1, Rood 0-3, Williams 0-1), Marion 13-26 (L. Van Weelden 2-6, Riley Wright 2-2, Laube 2-4, E. Van Weelden 5-10, Fentress 1-1, Struchen 1-3). Team fouls: Mason City 18, Marion 12. Fouled out: Meyer, Riley Wright. Rebounds: Mason City 32 (Lensing 8), Marion 33 (E. Van Weelden 15). Assists: Mason City 7 (Meyer, Lensing 2), Marion 10 (four with 2). Steals: Mason City 7 (Deets 2), Marion 9 (Riley Wright 3). Turnovers: Mason City 12, Marion 14.

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