Iowa girls basketball: Sibley-Ocheyedan’s season cut short; Sheldon narrowly advances
SIBLEY, Iowa — Toting an exciting six-game winning streak from the regular season, Sibley-Ocheyedan couldn’t carry its good fortunes into the playoffs.
North Union — a relatively new consolidation of Armstrong-Ringsted, North Sentral-Kossuth and Swea City — came to Sibley Saturday evening and commanded attention in the paint, getting things done there on both the scoring and rebounding ends of the contest to come away with a 55-40 triumph in the opening round of Class 2A, Region 1 action.
“We certainly weren’t ready to play,” Sibley-Ocheyedan head coach Jeremy Leusink said after the game. “We weren’t prepared for the atmosphere, I guess.”
The Generals had an early 12-8 lead after the first quarter and shared the ball patiently at times for quality inside shots. North Union captured its first lead, at 16-14, when senior forward Sara Rolling laid in a bunny off of a bounce pass from senior Madison Bollig with 4:20 remaining in the half.
The Warriors knotted the game again with just over 90 seconds left before the break, at 20-all, on a three-pointer by senior guard Aurora Oliver and then held a 24-22 lead going to intermission. Rolling (20) and Oliver (14) combined for over half of their team’s points.
North Union led throughout the entire third quarter, but never comfortably. Generals senior forward Bridget Doeden — who scored her 1,000th point recently in a game with Boyden-Hull — was an influence for her club under the basket in the frame. She paced them with 18 points and was the only one of her teammates managing double figure scoring.
On the defensive end, the Generals simply failed to stem the tide and find stops when they were needed. That, Leusink said, is uncharacteristic of how his team had been playing.
“In the third quarter, we got the ball inside and Bridget had a lot of nice touches in there by attacking the basket,” Leusink said. “But we just couldn’t get over the hump and couldn’t get any stops together. They played pressure-free all night.
“That was one of the things all year is that we got stops,” he added. “This team we played averages 40 points per game and we gave them too many.”
Sibley-Ocheyedan began its six-game run with a 47-40 triumph over Sioux Center back on Jan. 28. Saturday’s result put the Generals at 15-7. It was the last time the team’s six seniors including Doeden, Michaela Wolter, Clara Meyer, Kayla Ackerman, Alyssa Stofferan and Jenifer Willemssen got to put on the Generals’ uniform.
North Union (now 13-6) will travel to Okoboji, Milford (14-7) Tuesday with a crack at the regional semifinals — scheduled for Friday in Pocahontas — on the line.
“They’ve come a long way, and many of them have played three years. Some of them started as freshmen,” Leusink said of his outgoing players. “I’m really proud of them for growing as people and as players. They put together a really good senior season that just ended a little too soon.”
North Union 8 24 35 55
Sibley-O 12 22 33 40
Class 3A, Region 1
Sheldon 59, Sioux Center 58
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — The Sheldon Orabs had a game-winning shot sunk by junior Emily Johnson to push their way past Sioux Center in the opening round of Class 3A playoff action Saturday.
Johnson scored a game-best 20 points, junior Sami Kleinwolterink offered 15 and senior MacKensey Radke 10.
For the Warriors, Jill Vander Plaats led the way with 18 points, Mariah Hulstein put up 14 and Madison Beaver 12.
Sheldon trailed the entire way before taking an initial edge with six minutes left. The teams traded leads for the remainder of the game, setting up Johnson’s winning shot.
Sheldon (now 13-9) advanced to face a trip to Unity Christian, Orange City (18-4) Wednesday. The winner faces Spirit Lake or Humboldt next.
Sheldon 6 29 41 59
Sioux Center 19 37 48 58