Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com
By Pat Harty
Your Prep Sports
RIVERSIDE – It just wouldn’t be a state tournament without the Regina girls basketball team playing in it, or so it seems.
The seventh-ranked Regals overcame a pesky Danville squad 55-43 in a Class to 2A regional final to clinch their fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament in Des Moines.
“We’re spoiled here,” said Regina senior guard Greyson Dumont. “It’s amazing that we get to go our fourth time.”
For a while, it looked as if Danville might spoil Regina’s march to state. The Bears outscored Regina 17-12 in the second quarter and led 29-28 at halftime.
But Regina regrouped at halftime and came out firing from the perimeter in the third quarter. Regina’s first four baskets in the third quarter were 3-pointers, including two in a row by junior Kennedy Wallace.
Regina started the third quarter on a 14-4 scoring run and led 42-33 on a basket by junior center Alex Wiese with 3 minutes, 35 seconds left in the quarter.
Danville never drew closer than five points for the rest of the game.
“That was critical,” Regina coach Jeff Wallace said of the run to start to the third quarter. “We challenged them at halftime and they responded.
“We said, hey, if you want to be a championship team, we’re going to find out if we are or not in the second half. And they just came out right away and hit some big threes.”
Regina will bring a 21-4 record to the state tournament, while Danville finished the season 20-5 overall.
All-state senior guard Mary Crompton led three Regina players in double figures with 20 points and with five 3-point baskets.
Crompton made back-to-back threes in the second quarter, turning a 24-20 deficit into a 26-24 lead. She also made the last of Regina’s four 3-pointers to begin the third quarter, expanding the leading to 40-33.
Wiese also scored in double figures with 12 points despite missing most of the second quarter with two fouls, while Dumont chipped in with 11 points.
Regina lost the momentum, and eventually the lead after Wiese went to the bench early in the second quarter in foul trouble.
“We talked to our team ahead of the game that we have to stay out of foul trouble and she got two there and we just had to save her for the second half, she’s that important to us,” Jeff Wallace said. “We felt like we had a great start and great momentum, and then when that happened, we kind of slowed down a little bit.”
The outcome still was very much in doubt with Regina leading 44-38 after three quarters. Danville made one free throw to trim the lead to five points, but then Regina answered with an 8-0 scoring run that expanded the lead to 13 points at 52-39.
Wiese made a conventional 3-point play that gave Regina a 50-39 lead with 1:46 left to play and Dumont followed with two free throws.
Danville only made one basket in the fourth quarter and was held to just five points in the final eight minutes of what was a physical game.
Crompton had a gash on her forehead to prove it.
“It was a pretty physical game, but we held our ground,” Crompton said. “They definitely didn’t call a lot of fouls, but that’s something we’ve prepared for all year. We’ve played some really tough teams that have pressed us and really pushed us out of our comfort zone.
“So I felt like our regular-season games really prepared us for their physicality.”
And now it’s back to the state tournament yet again.
“That’s four times in a row for me and the other seniors,” Crompton said. “We really have enjoyed our time together. We’ve made a lot of memories. So being there four times I feel like we have a lot of experience going into it. So hopefully, we can do better and perform better than we have in the past.”
Regina failed to win a state title in each of the previous three trips to the state tournament, but to make it there four times in a row is special by itself.
“It’s unprecedented in school history and it’s unprecedented with a lot of schools,” Jeff Wallace said. “I’m just really proud of the kids. They’ve put in a lot of time and effort and had good attitudes, just real proud of them.”
Danville 12 17 9 5 – 43
Regina 16 12 16 11 – 55
Danville (43) – Grace Grothe 3-13 0-0 9, Kate Luers 0-2 1-2 1, Alyssa Pfadenhauer 5-10 4-5 14, Makenzie Spper 3-8 0-0 8, Alexis Bauer 3-10 1-2 7, Lauren Finke 2-2 0-0 4, Bailee Morris 0-1 0-0 0, Alyssa Becjker 0- 0-0 0, Ashley Pfadenhauer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 6-9 43.
Regina (55) – Mary Crompton 7-16 1-2 20, Alex Wiese 5-8 2-4 12, Greyson Dumont 3-6 4-4 11, Lauren Gaarde 0-2 0-0 0, Kennedy Wallace 3-8 0-0 8, Alexa Lehman 1-2 0-0 2, Ellie Gahan 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 20-46 7-10 55.
3-point goals – Danville 5 (Grace Grothe 3, Makenzie Speer 2); Regina 8 (Mary Crompton 5, Kennedy Wallace 2, Greyson Dumont). Fouls – Danville 11, Regina 9.