Prep Basketball

Pressure defense leads CPU back to state

Girls' basketball: Stormin' Pointers force 26 turnovers, turn away Central Lee, 57-48

IOWA CITY — For Center Point-Urbana, “grilling” season goes all winter.

The third-ranked Stormin’ Pointers overcame some outside-shooting deficiencies with a smothering full-court press, forcing 26 turnovers in a 57-48 Class 3A girls’ basketball regional-final victory over Central Lee on Saturday at West High School.

“We knew they had a select few ball handlers,” CPU’s Adrianna Katcher said. “We knew we could get up in their grill and make them get a little crazy with the basketball.”

The Stormin’ Pointers (21-2) advance to the state tournament for the sixth time, the fifth in the last six seasons. They’ll face West Marshall (14-7) in a first-round game at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

“Every year is special,” CPU Coach Philip Klett said. “You never know when you’re going to make it back.”

CPU’s press led to steals, and the steals led to points — enough to let the Stormin’ Pointers advance despite making just 3 of 24 shots from 3-point range, and enough to let a 30-21 rebounding disadvantage slide.

“Our defensive pressure was the difference,” Klett said. “We live and die with our defense.”

Leading 28-25 at halftime, the Stormin’ Pointers opened the second half with a 13-2 run to open a 14-point lead. Peyton Kriegel’s 3-pointer made it 41-27 with 4:10 left in the quarter.

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But Central Lee (19-6) was stubborn. The Hawks closed the third quarter with a 10-2 run, and got within five points on three occasions early in the fourth before the Stormin’ Pointers ultimately prevailed.

A junior and a Southern Illinois recruit, Katcher led all scorers with 17 points.

“My outside shot wasn’t going, but I was able to get my midrange shot to fall, and that’s kind of my game anyway,” she said.

Callyn Fox added 12 points, and Kriegel (3-for-3 from long range) scored nine.

Makenna Hall and Emily Fuller scored 13 points apiece for Central Lee.

The first half featured four ties and five lead changes. Kriegel’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds left gave the Stormin’ Pointers a 28-25 advantage at intermission.

CENTER POINT-URBANA 57, CENTRAL LEE 48

Class 3A Regional Final, at Iowa City West

CENTRAL LEE (48): Makenna Hall 5-9 0-0 13, Malarie Ross 3-6 4-6 10, Mya Merschman 4-9 4-6 12, Kassidy Haley 0-3 0-0 0, Emily Fuller 6-9 1-2 13, Ella Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Alivia Myhre 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-36 9-14 48.

CENTER POINT-URBANA (57): Adrianna Katcher 7-14 3-4 17, Karly Millikin 2-8 2-3 6, Rylee Clark 2-5 0-0 4, Madie Willson 1-10 0-0 2, Callyn Fox 5-10 2-2 12, Ryley Goebel 3-4 1-2 7, Bryn Hadsall 0-1 0-0 0, Peyton Kriegel 3-3 0-0 9, Chloe Neighbor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 8-11 57.

Halftime: CPU 28, Central Lee 25. 3-point goals: Central Lee 3-7 (Hall 3-4, Ross 0-2, Haley 0-1), CPU 3-24 (Katcher 0-4, Millikin 0-5, Clark 0-3, Willson 0-6, Fox 0-2, Hadsall 0-1, Kriegel 3-3). Team fouls: Central Lee 12, CPU 12. Fouled out: Ross. Rebounds: Central Lee 30 (Hall, Fuller 7), CPU 21 (Millikin, Goebel 4). Assists: Central Lee 3 (Hall 2), CPU 13 (Katcher, Willson 4). Steals: Central Lee 8 (Ross 4), CPU 14 (Clark, Willson 3). Turnovers: Central Lee 26, CPU 10.

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

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