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DES MOINES – Playing without junior center Alex Wiese and her 15.4 points and 10.6 rebounds Regina coach Jeff Wallace just wanted his team to have a shot to win late in its state tournament opener on Tuesday.
Regina actually had three shots at it but couldn’t come away with a win.
Seventh-ranked Regina got off three potential game winning shots in the final 8.5 seconds but couldn’t get one to fall in a 46-45 loss to No. 8 Grundy Center (23-1) in a Class 2A state quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“We have with Alex one of the best rebounders in the state and you lose that and we fought all game,” Wallace said. “We were there we had a shot and that’s all we can ask.”
After back-to-back semifinal exits the past two seasons Regina had its title hopes dealt a serious blow on Sunday when Wiese injured her knee at practice.
Even without the 5-foot-11 junior in the lineup Regina (21-5) still did nearly enough to return to the semifinals on Tuesday.
Senior Mary Crompton scored a game-high 20 points and Greyson Dumont had 13 to give Regina a shot at surviving late.
Lauren Gaarde had the ball trailing by a point with 8.5 seconds left but a 3-pointer miss, Kennedy Wallace was off on a 15-footer and Alexa Lehman’s last ditch putback attempt at the buzzer was short.
“We had the opportunity we just didn’t get them to fall,” Dumont said. “We did a lot of great things. We battled, we played so hard we just didn’t get that last shot to go.”
The win was the seventh straight for Grundy Center and sends the Spartans to the state semifinals for the first time since 2005.
“They got three shots and they missed every single one of them and I think sometimes you have to have a little bit of that luck,” Grundy Center junior Hailey Wallis said. “When we were in the locker room coach Lindeman mentioned that we earned that luck.”
Neither team led by more than six all game and Grundy Center led by one point at the end of each quarter.
It was the final one-point lead that was the most nerve wracking for the Spartans.
Regina grabbed two of its 11 offensive rebounds in the final five seconds but couldn’t get either put back attempt to fall.
“I wasn’t that nervous because I knew that we had each others’ back on who we needed to stop so I didn’t have that many nerves but with three shots I was like oh man,” Grundy Center junior forward Brooke Flater said. “That was a little nerve wracking.”
Grundy Center never trailed in the fourth quarter but couldn’t put the game away until the final horn sounded.
The Spartans took their biggest lead at 40-34 on a layup by Wallis with 4:56 left but Regina answered with an Alexa Lehman 3-pointer.
Crompton got Regina within one two times in the final 90 seconds.
Her 3-point play with 1:25 cut the lead to 44-43 and after a Kylie Willis layup Crompton hit a short jumper in the lane to make it 46-45 with 1:25 left.
That was the final point for either team as Regina missed its final four shots in the last minute.
“I definitely can’t be ashamed of our team after this,” Crompton said. “We fought like no other team I’ve ever seen. Alex going down was definitely a heartbreaker we knew that we just had to come together more than ever and we had to fight and we had to rebound more than we ever had before.”
Crompton and Dumont combined for all but 12 of the points for Regina as the Regals shot 38 percent from the floor and were 6-of-24 from 3-point range.
Even without Wiese on the floor Regina held a 25-24 rebounding edge thanks to a team-high six from Crompton.
“I told the girls before the game we all have to get at least two more rebounds than our average,” Crompton said. “We had to fight as much as we could and get in there and get gritty like Alex does.”
Willis had 12 points and nine rebounds to lead Grundy Center while Falter had 11 points.
The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for Regina and marked the end for a talented group of seniors that went 93-11 over their four-year carer.
“These kids are winners and they have accomplished a lot, the seniors have accomplished a lot in four years,” Wallace said. “We’ve been here four times, it’s unprecedented in school history, we’ve won a lot of games and set the tone for future years. I’m really proud of our team.”
Regina 11 11 12 11 – 45
Grundy Center 12 11 12 11 – 46
Regina (45) – Mary Crompton 8-17 2-3 20, Alexa Lehman 1-9 0-0 3, Lauren Gaarde 0-3 0-0 0, Greyson Dumont 6-8 0-0 13, Kennedy Wallace 2-7 0-0 6, Elly Gahan 1-2 1-2 3, Katie Dunn 0-1 0-0 0, Team 18-47 3-5 45.
Grundy Center (46) – Hailey Wallis 3-7 1-2 8, Maddie McMartin 1-4 0-0 2, Sydney Mathews 1-1 1-1 3, Kylie Willis 5-9 2-5 12, Brooke Falter 5-9 1-1 11, Reegan Zinkula 2-4 0-0 5, Sarah Lindeman 1-3 0-0 2, Cora Saak 1-2 0-0 3, Team 19-39 5-9 46.
3-point field goals – ICR 6-24 (Crompton 2-7, Lehman 1-7, Gaarde 0-2, Dumont 1-2, Wallace 2-6); GC 3-14 (Wallis 1-5, McMartin 0-3, Willis 0-1, Zinkula 1-2, Lindeman 0-2, Saak 1-1). Rebounds – ICR 25 (Crompton 6); GC 24 (Willis 9). Assists – ICR 9 (Gaarde 3); GC 12 (McMartin 3). Total fouls – ICR 14; GC 9. Turnovers – ICR 12; GC 14. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.