United Wapsie Valley continues its state run
CLASS 1A STATE BASKETBALL

United Wapsie Valley continues its state run

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DES MOINES — After knocking off top-seeded Lake Mills Monday to kick off the Class 1A boys’ state basketball tournament, nothing could hold back Wapsie Valley Wednesday.

The eighth-seeded Warriors looked comfortable and confident in a 57-42 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Montezuma at Wells Fargo Arena that will send them into the title game for the second time in school history and first since the 2002-03 season.

Wapsie Valley faces the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between No. 2 seed Algona Garrigan (23-2) and No. 6 seed West Fork (24-2) at 2 p.m. Friday with its sights set on the school’s first state basketball championship.

“I tell you what,” said Wapsie Valley head coach Marty McKowen. “It’s because of our kids. I’ve been bragging about our kids all year long and what it means to be a family, and it is so cool. It is so neat to watch that group of kids play together. They’re so excited for each other when good things happen, and that’s how we’re still playing.”

Another strong defensive effort, balanced offense and a strong finishing kick took care of Montezuma (24-3) and standout guard Trey Shearer.

Wednesday’s game saw the Warriors (20-7) get off to a start that brought their crowd to its feet early and often. Wapsie Valley’s 17-12 first period included a thundering, one-handed rebound dunk by Gunner Meyer, but the Braves didn’t get rattled.

Montezuma fought back within 26-23 by halftime and trailed 35-31 heading into the fourth quarter.

That’s when Wapsie Valley erupted. When 6-foot-7 senior Kiks Rosengarten powered through contact for a bucket and free throw at the 4:13 mark, the Warriors were suddenly up 46-33.

Meyer made it 48-33 with 3 1/2 minutes left and Montezuma got no closer than nine points again.

An up-tempo Braves team that came in averaging 71.1 points per game and shooting 54.3 percent overall and 39.1 percent from 3-point range, finished with a season-low 42 points and made just 34.7 percent overall and 5 of 23 shots from distance (21.7 percent).

Shearer, the Braves’ leading scorer at 25.5 points per game, finished with 16. Cole Watts, the team’s second-leading scorer at 18.4 ppg, got just four shots and three points.

“They played good defense,” said Shearer, who could never get the Braves’ potent transition game rolling. “When we tried to come back, they kept making shots.”

Meanwhile, Meyer led Wapsie Valley with 17, Rosengarten and Kobe Risse added 14 each and Blayde Bellis had nine as those four starters played all 32 minutes.

Now the Warriors are one win from a championship.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” said McKowen. “As much for our team as I am for our community. Again, if you looked out there today and saw that fan base that we have, for a small 1A school to have that many people show up and cheer us on is so cool.”

Junior co-captain Kobe Risse said it’s been a storybook season with one chapter left to be written.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere out there, and I can’t wait to get out there and play with my brothers.

“At the beginning of the season, if you would have told me that we would even make it to state, I would have said you were crazy. I knew we had talent, but I never thought we’d be playing at state, let alone for a state championship.

“It’s something as a kid you always dream of and you never thing will happen, but here we are.”

Wapsie Valley 57, Montezuma 42

Wapsie Valley Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Bellis 32 3-11 1-2 3 2 1 9

Risse 32 3-5 7-7 7 5 1 14

Ott 23 1-4 0-1 4 2 3 3

Rosengarten 32 6-11 2-3 10 1 2 14

Meyer 32 6-7 2-3 4 0 1 17

Kerns 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Wittenburg 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Stark 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Westpfahl 6 0-3 0-0 0 0 1 0

Barnes 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

O’Donnell 3 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0

Landsgard 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 0

Totals 160 19-41 12-16 29 10 9 57

Montezuma Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Arendt 32 5-14 0-0 4 0 3 12

M. Shearer 32 1-5 0-0 1 0 2 3

Watts 30 1-4 0-0 4 2 2 3

T. Shearer 32 7-18 1-1 5 1 4 16

Burgess 31 2-7 2-2 10 4 4 6

Henning 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Kercheval 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Cook 3 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0

Strong 0+ 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 2

Chidester 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 1

Totals 160 17-49 3-3 26 7 15 42

3-point goals — Wapsie Valley 7-17 (Bellis 2-6, Risse 1-2, Ott 1-2, Meyer 3-4, Westpfahl 0-3), Montezuma 5-23 (Arendt 2-9, M. Shearer 1-4, Watts 1-3, T. Shearer 1-6, Burgess 0-1). Turnovers — Wapsie Valley 7 (Rosengarten 3), Montezuma 8 (T. Shearer 3, Burgess 3).

Officials — McQuillen, Clark, Smith.

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