Newell-Fonda tops Spartan girls in state quarterfinal
DES MOINES -- The Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton girls attempted 37 fewer shots than Newell-Fonda in Monday’s Class 1-A state tournament quarterfinal, turning the ball over 29 times and allowing 22 offensive rebounds.
Yet there the Spartans were, leading the defending state champs by a point with three quarters in the books.
And that’s when Newell-Fonda reaffirmed exactly why it has played in the last three state title games.
Tweaking their press and turning the intensity up a notch, the seventh-ranked Mustangs forced four Spartan turnovers in 75 seconds to start the final period, converting three steals into points to cap an abrupt 9-0 run and go ahead 42-34.
Exira-EHK pulled back within four, but lost Sophia Peppers to her fifth foul with 4:05 remaining and surrendered another 7-1 spurt that proved insurmountable.
Mara Burmeister’s three-pointer snapped a three-minute scoring drought with 1:04 to play, providing the final hurrah as the second-ranked Spartans suffered their first loss of the season, 53-42, at Wells Fargo Arena.
Exira-EHK (23-1), which reached the state semifinals unbeaten a year ago, has put together a 48-2 record over the past two seasons.