WEST?BEND - The post-season run of the West Bend Mallard/Gilmore City Bradgate girls came to a heartbreaking halt Friday night as they were nipped in a47-46 loss by West Sioux of Hawarden in a Class 1A Regional semi-final matchup at Hartley.
The Lady Wolverines' post-season started on a positive note on Thursday, Feb. 7, when they made the short trip to Algona to meet Bishop Garrigan's Golden Bears in a Class 1A Regional opener and emerged with a satisfying 58-42 win.
The Lady Wolverines never had to look back in the contest, taking an 11-2 lead after one quarter and improving to a 27-17 advantage at the intermission. The second half was much like the first, with the Lady Wolverines putting up some solid defense and strong offense to take a 42-24 lead into the final quarter, and then going on to claim the 58-42 victory.
Kayla Banwart would lead the offense with a 21-point effort, while Sarah Mader added 11 points. Cassie Gearhart chipped in 10 points, with Ashely Schmidt scoring six points. Kenzie Grimm tallied five markers, with Courtney Bargman chipping in three points and Kaylee Lanus adding two points.
The victory set up a quarter-final matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Laurens against Storm Lake St. Mary's. The quarter-final would be a stiffer challenge, as West Bend-Mallard/ Gilmore City-Bradgate took a 9-7 lead after the first quarter, but went into the lockerroom all tied up at 17-17 against the Panthers.
In the third quarter, the Lady Wolverines were able to edge away slightly from St. Mary's to post a 29-22 lead going into the final quarter, and earned the 54-39 win to advance to Friday's semi-final.
Kenzie Grimm would have the big night for the Wolverine gals as she knocked down 18 points, while Cassie Gearhart would add 16 points to the coffers. Kayla Banwart accounted for eight points, with Ashley Schmidt scoring six points. Courtney Bargman chipped in three points, with Kaylee Lanus adding two points and Sarah Mader dropped in a free throw for a point.
Advancing to the Regional semi-final, West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate was paired off against West Sioux of Hawarden on Friday night in Hartley.
Coach Eugene Ruppert's ball club played hard from the opening tipoff, as they would go on to take an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, using a 14-3 run to help propel themselves to the lead.
In the second quarter, West Sioux's Falcons would open the quarter with six unanswered points as they found their footing. A three-point shot from Courtney Bargman got the Lady Wolverines moving offensively, but some missed opportunities at the free throw line would come back to haunt WBM/GCB as they went on to post a 23-21 lead at the intermission.
The battle picked up where it left off in the second half, with both teams playing pressure defense and battling for every bucket and matching buckets to start the third frame, but the Lady Wolverines would lead 36-29 going into the final quarter of the contest, with the issue still in doubt.
As the clock wound down, the Lady Wolverines began to run into some foul problems, as West Sioux would gradually creep back into the contest, tying the game up at 42-42 with 2:30 remaining in the contest. West Sioux began reeling off three-point shots and moved out to a 47-42 lead with 1:18 to play.
With the lead cut to 47-44 after a bucket by Kayla Banwart, West Sioux missed out on three trips to the charity stripe and the Lady Wolverines took advantage of the gift and got another bucket from Banwart, but a final shot by Banwart at the horn banged off the front of the rim and left the Lady Wolverines on the outside looking in.
For the Lady Wolverines, McKenzie Grimm and Cassie Gearhart would both tally nine points each in the contest, while Courtney Bargman and Ashley Schmidt both scored eight points each in the game.
Kayla Banwart would come away with six points in the effort.
Defensively, McKenzie Grimm, Sarah Mader and Cassie Gearhart all collected seven rebounds, while Grimm handed out five assists and blocked three shots. Kayla Banwart added four steals for the Lady Wolverines.