Waterloo West Girls Fall To Defending 5A State Basketball Champs
Good things came in threes for Southeast Polk.
The ninth-ranked Rams made 10 3-pointers, converted a traditional three-point play and sank three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.
The result was a 54-46 victory over third-rated Waterloo West that sends the defending champions back to the Class-5A title game.
Southeast Polk won it with a share-the-wealth offense and accurate free throw shooting at the end. Jessica Cole led the Rams with 16 points, Abby Penquite scored 15, Annie Penquite had 12 and Jacey Huinker finished with eight points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Iowa State recruit Blaire Thomas led West with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Haley Puk, who'll play at Bowling Green next year, scored 15. The Wahawks grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and Thomas converted five of them into baskets, but they couldn't overcome Southeast Polk's 10-for-23 shooting from long range. The Rams also made 14-of-17 free throws while West went 3-for-7 at the line.
The Wahawks led by as many as six points in the third quarter and were up 35-30 late in the period. That's when Southeast Polk took control. Abby Penquite sank all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot and Cole hit a pair of 3s to put the Rams up 39-37. They never relinquished the lead.
After Huinker posted up for a basket that produced a 45-40 advantage, the Rams made 8-of-10 free throws to keep stay in control.
Southeast Polk will take an 18-6 record into Saturday's 8 p.m. championship game. The Rams will be playing for their third state title. In addition to last year's championship, they won the six-player crown in 1977.
West finishes 22-3 after its seventh appearance at state.