The post season got off to a good start for the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura girls with two big wins. In the opening round the Cardinals beat Central Springs and went on to top Osage in the second round. It was in the third round that G-H/V’s luck ran out. They fell to Spirit Lake to end their season.
G-H/V 39, Osage 35
G-H/V’s offense was firing on all cylinders Wednesday night, Feb. 13, when the Cardinals faced Osage in the second round of the Class 3A Regional Tournament.
A trio of three-pointers by Bri Bier and solid 7/10 shooting from the floor got the G-H/V team revved up. They jumped to an early 17-11 lead in the first quarter. The Cards kept up the onslaught in the second quarter for a 29-13 halftime lead.
“Our defense set the tone for the night early on, as we did a very good job taking away what they wanted to do,” said Coach Matt Erpelding. “We also shredded their zone defense in the second quarter with great execution of our zone offense and very good shot selection.”
The second half wasn’t quite as good as the first half, with the Cardinals struggling with their man-to-man defense. The Green Devils were able to outscore the Cardinals 12-8 in the third quarter.
“Our defense remained solid, which allowed us to sustain a couple runs,” said Erpelding.
Hannah Hutcheson knocked down a big three late in the game, which sealed Osage’s fate, 49-35.
Bier had an outstanding night for the Cardinals, collecting a team high 18 points. She also had three rebounds, three assists, three steals and one blocked shot.
Rounding out the scoring was Maddie Tusha and Shelby Rayhons with eight points apiece. Mackenzie Haag and Hutcheson had six and five points respectively. Kim Dornbier and Courtney Younge each chipped in two points.
Tusha led the team in both rebounds and assists with six in each category. She also had two steals and one blocked shot.
Hutcheson was the team leader in steals with four.
Spirit Lake 51, G-H/V 37
The Garner-Hayfield/Ventura girls basketball team saw their hopes of a trip to Wells Fargo Arena dashed on Saturday, Feb. 16, when the Cardinals fell to number nine rated Spirit Lake, 51-37, in the Class 3A Regional Final.
“We were very prepared for this game as the first quarter showed,” said Coach Matt Erpelding. “We simply lost our composure and couldn’t regain it the rest of the game.”
G-H/V came ready to play. Behind the hot hand of Bri Bier, who put in 11 first quarter points, the Cardinals were able to capture a 17-8 first quarter lead. The Indians picked up their game in the second quarter and threw the Cards for a loop with their trapping defense.
“We started playing too fast and were making poor decisions with the basketball,” said Erpelding.
Spirit Lake outscored the Cardinals 15-9 in the second quarter, but G-H/V still took a 26-23 lead into the half.
The Indians dominated the second half, putting in 28 points to the Cardinal’s 11, for the final 51-37 victory.
Coach Erpelding credits Spirit Lake’s point guard, KJ Veldman, for taking over the second half. She got to the free throw line 13 times in the second half and finished the game going 17/17 from the free throw line. She was the leading scorer in the game with 25 points.
The Indian’s pressure defense also caused the Cardinals to commit 30 turnovers.
“You aren’t going to win a Regional final game with 30 turnovers and 11 points in the second half,” said Erpelding.
Bier led the scoring with 13 points. Maddie Tusha contributed eight points, while Hutcheson chipped in six and Shelby Rayhons had four. Mackenzie Haag, Kim Dornbier and Emily Spilman each had two points.
Haag had a great night under the boards with 10 rebounds. Tusha was right behind her with eight rebounds. Rayhons grabbed five rebounds.
Tusha led the team with four steals, while Hutcheson grabbed three. Hutcheson also had two blocked shots.
“This group of girls showed what hard work and dedication will lead to,” said Coach Erpelding. “The effort they put forth in practice everyday was amazing and something they should be very proud of.”
G-H/V ended the season with a record of 16-8. Spirit Lake was scheduled to face number three Estherville-Lincoln Central in a Class 3A State Tournament quarterfinal on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m.