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WAVERLY — The Waverly-Shell Rock Go-Hawks are headed back to Des Moines.

And they did it with a tenacious defensive effort.

The No. 5 Go-Hawks smothered No. 9 Ballard with their relentless pressure to earn a hard-fought 48-37 victory Tuesday night in a Class 4A girls’ basketball regional final.

Waverly-Shell Rock shut the Bombers down in earning its fourth trip to the state tournament and its first since 2015.

“Our defense was just tremendous,” W-SR coach Greg Bodensteiner said. “We may not be great offensively, but we’re going to guard the heck out of you. Defensively, I don’t know how much better we could have been. We were disciplined and we took away some of the sets they ran.”

The Go-Hawks (20-2) won their 11th straight game and will advance to face Mason City (15-8) in the state tournament at 1:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“We’re very excited – this is unbelievable,” W-SR sophomore Abbie Draper said. “I’ve never been happier. This team really stuck together. We have really good chemistry and it’s fun to be a part of this team.”

Ballard (20-3) saw its 12-game winning streak and its season end.

W-SR led by 10 in the third quarter before Ballard cut the deficit to three on back-to-back 3-pointers by Cassidy Thompson and Josie Fleischmann.

The Go-Hawks answered when Camryn Grawe buried a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give her team a 31-25 lead entering the final quarter.

“Cam is a 42 percent 3-pointer shooter,” Bodensteiner said. “She doesn’t take very many of them, but those are the ones she takes. That was huge because we had stretched the lead to 10 and then they got it back to three lightning fast. And then Cam hit that big shot.”

Waverly-Shell Rock, a team with just two seniors on its roster, went on a 10-0 run to start the final quarter and extended its lead to 18 points.

“We definitely had to stay mentally strong,” W-SR senior guard Olivia Phillips said. “There was no room for error. We pushed through some adversity and came together as a team. This is awesome.”

Waverly-Shell Rock fell at Mason City 70-43 in its first game of the season. The Go-Hawks are the No. 5 seed at state and Mason City is No. 4 in 4A.

“Mason City has a fantastic team and they blitzed us pretty good,” Bodensteiner said. “They have some good players and their point guard is going to Iowa. We’ll have our hands full, but it’s a great opportunity for us and it will be a great experience.

“The pressure’s off now. We’re just going to go in there and battle and give it everything we’ve got.”

Waverly-S.R. 48, Ballard 37

BALLARD (20-3) — Brooke Loewe 2 1-2 6, Josie Fleischmann 5 1-2 15, Molly Ihle 2 2-3 6, Maggie Larson 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Thompson 3 0-0 8, Rachel Wolgemuth 0 0-0 0, Meg Rietz 1 0-0 2, Karlee Ahrenholtz 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 4-9 37.

WAVERLY-SHELL ROCK (20-2) — Abbie Draper 2 3-4 7, Olivia Phillips 2 3-4 8, Britney Young 2 7-8 11, Laura Bates 3 5-6 11, Camryn Grawe 4 0-2 9, Kenzie Roling 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 20-26 48.

Ballard 11 6 8 12 — 37

Wav.-SR 9 13 9 17 — 48

3-point goals – Ballard 7 (Fleischmann 4, Thompson 2, Loewe), Waverly-Shell Rock 2 (Phillips, Grawe). Total fouls – Ballard 14, Waverly-Shell Rock 9. Fouled out – none.

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