IOWA CITY — Neither Montezuma nor Springville are strangers to playing in Wells Fargo Arena.
But this year, Springville will have to spend some time away.
Montezuma utilized a 3-point barrage to reach its third consecutive state tournament, downing the Orioles, 77-57, Wednesday night in a Class 1A girls’ regional final at Iowa City West. The Bravettes (22-1) will face No. 7 Saint Ansgar (20-2) in a quarterfinal game at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday in Des Moines.
“It’s an amazing feeling — it always has been,” Montezuma’s Shateah Wetering said. “It’s a three-peat. We’re going to go, but we’re not just there to go. We’re there to win it.”
Despite their experience and No. 5 ranking, the Bravettes trailed the No. 10 Orioles, 20-19, after the first quarter.
Things changed quickly.
Montezuma rattled off a 24-7 run that included six 3-pointers in the second quarter to completely change the game and take a 43-27 lead into the break.
Much of the run can be attributed to senior guard Maddy McKeag, who drained three 3-pointers — and six in the game — to turn the tide.
What else could be expected from a team that entered the game leading 1A with 209 triples?
“We work a lot on our transition 3s because that’s really big for us,” McKeag said. “Really just busting butt down there, getting my feet set, go right into the shot, and not thinking about it. Just doing what I know how to do.”
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That confidence is what kept the Bravettes in the game when Springville (20-5) made a run of its own in the third quarter.
Orioles guard Morgan Nachazel dropped 10 points in the third — to go along with 26 in the game — as Springville held Montezuma to nine points in the quarter.
The Orioles erased the 16-point deficit to take a brief lead toward the end of the quarter. But the hot Bravette shooting returned in the final frame.
Montezuma drained three more shots from beyond the arc before raising its state qualifier banner to end the night.
In addition to McKeag’s 18 points, Wetering scored 20, Elise Boulton had 12, and Shelby Conger put up 11.
“We did probably a way better job than the teams have in the past and got them a little flustered,” Springville head coach Christina Zaruba said. “Unfortunately, they just didn’t have one kid missing tonight, and that’s real hard to defend. They’re going to be a real hard team to stop if they don’t miss.”