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PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lions reach state championship game

DES MOINES -- Central Lyon is making the most of its first trip to the state tournament.

The top-ranked Lions are headed to the Class 1A championship game after jumping out to a 17-0 lead out of the gate and cruising to a 76-53 victory over No. 8 Burlington Notre Dame in the Class 1A Girls' Basketball State Tournament semifinals Thursday.

"The girls feel good after that performance," Central Lyon coach Dan Kruse said. "They came out strong and were able to get an early lead in the first quarter."

The Lions led 28-7 after the first quarter and extended their lead to 28 by halftime.

Four players scored in double-digits for Central Lyon, while the team as a whole shot 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc.

The Lions were able to score in transition off steals and got open shots in their half-court offense due to crisp passing. Central Lyon had assists on 23 of their 27 field goals.

"The girls are not over confident going into the title game," Kruse said. "They are happy with where we are at right now, but we will be ready to go [today]."

Kori Schulte led the way for the Lions with 23 points. Schulte hit nine of 15 shots and complemented her scoring with five rebounds, three assists, five steals and two blocks.

"Kori had four points in our first game and she was disappointed with her play," Kruse said. "We weren't disappointed with her, but she vowed that this game would be different. She has been doing well for us on a consistent basis lately."

Sophomore Sarah Halse had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Lexi Ackerman had 11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Sophomore Ivy Sieperda contributed 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Kori Mesecher, one of three sophomores in Notre Dame's starting lineup, led the Nikes with 13 points. Morgan Myers added 11 points and Courtney Coffin scored nine.

Notre Dame also reached the state tournament for the first time and set a school record for victories in finishing 22-4.

The Lions improved to 25-2 and will play No. 2 Newell-Fonda in the title game at 4 p.m. Friday.

"They are a good 3-point shooting team and are very similar in style of play to us," Kruse said. "We are going to have to recognize that all of their players can shoot the 3-ball well. So we can't tag off on one of their players and leave the others to shoot."

Newell-Fonda is in the finals for the fourth time and also is seeking its first championship.

Burlington Notre Dame 7 11 19 16 -- 53

Central Lyon 28 18 20 10 -- 76