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Waterloo West Girls Advance To Semifinals

In a game of runs, Waterloo West put together the burst that proved to be decisive.

Led by their three Division-I recruits, the third-ranked Wahawks pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat seventh-ranked Des Moines East, 69-57, to open the Class-5A quarterfinals at the Girls State Basketball Tournament Wednesday afternoon (March 5, 2014).

Click Here for our 2014 Iowa High School Girls Basketball State Tournament Page

Bowling Green recruit Haley Puk led West with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Kate Letkewicz, who’ll play at Dartmouth, added 19 points and Iowa State recruit Blaire Thomas scored 16 on 7-for-10 shooting despite foul trouble. Sammie Sproul chipped in with 11 points and five assists.

East got 15 points each from future Division-I players Roichelle Marble (Wisconsin) and Shareece Burrell (Bradley). Arrica Daye scored 10 for the Scarlets and had two steals.

West, in the tournament for the first time since 2003, will take a 22-2 record into Friday’s semifinals. East, a two-time state champion making its ninth appearance, finishes 20-4 after winning its seventh-straight conference championship and playing in its seventh-consecutive regional final.

West used a 12-1 run that included six-straight points by Puk to open a 39-32 lead midway through the third quarter. The Wahawks appeared on the verge of breaking the game open then — until East ran off the final 11 points of the quarter to go up 43-39.

But Letkewicz scored twice in the first minute of the fourth quarter, triggering a 17-2 burst that left West with a 56-45 lead. The Wahawks finished it off at the free throw line, making 13 of 14 in the final 2:55. Letkewicz went 6-for-6 in that stretch and West finished with a 24-4 advantage at the line.

The Wahawks shot 72 percent in the second half (13-for-18) and out-rebounded the Scarlets 32-20.

So far, Cedar Valley teams are a perfect 3-0 at the state tournament. Janesville (Class-1A) and Hudson (Class-2A) are also in the semfinals after winning quarterfinal games on Monday.

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