DES MOINES, Ia. — Western Christian’s Erika Feenstra drilled a 3-pointer to open the Class 2A semifinal against No. 1 Regina.
OK, fair enough. Underdogs get some shots. But nothing to worry about for Regals fans.
Then Nebraska commit Ashtyn Veerbeek canned a 3. Then Jessi DeJager got an easy bucket under the basket. Then Veerbeek and Feenstra hit four more shots.
And quickly, forcefully, surprisingly, Western Christian jumped out to a 16-4 lead less than seven minutes into the game.
OK. Now it was worry time for Regals fans.
Things didn’t get much better. Regina lost, 71-49. Both numbers set season records for most points allowed and fewest points scored.
“They’re a good team,” said Sarah Lehman, who scored nine. “Obviously better than we thought.”
Regina trimmed an early 18-point deficit to 11 by halftime, but No. 4 Western Christian (24-2) responded with an 8-2 run to start the third and outscored the Regals, 38-27, in the second half.
“We just came out with fire today,” Veerbeek said. “I think that first quarter was one of the best games of basketball we’ve played, and that just carried us. Getting that huge jump at the beginning.
“Everyone was saying how amazing Regina was and they’re undefeated and they’re No. 1, but we just focused on us.”
Veerbeek led all scorers with 31; she also grabbed 10 boards. She got some help, too: Feenstra netted 17, Karsyn Winterfield added 11 and Erica Bousema had a game-high five assists.
Alex Wiese paced Regina (26-1) with 22 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out in the final 2 minutes. She didn’t get much help: The rest of Regina combined to shoot 13 percent (6-for-47).
Mary Crompton, who shot 58 percent this year, went 0-for-13 and 0-for-7 from long range. She finished with five points at the line.
“Their length really bothered us on the offensive end,” Regina head coach Jeff Wallace said. “We just couldn’t get shots that we’re normally able to get off against teams. When you start 6-foot-2, 6-2, 6-1, that’s really tough.”
Crompton, a junior, returns for the Regals. So do six other players who logged regular minutes this year.
“The one thing about (Crompton) is she’ll be in the gym tomorrow,” Wallace said. “She’ll be working like crazy tomorrow.”
Western Christian (71) — Veerbeek 31, Feenstra 17, Winterfield 11, DeJager 8, Bousema 4. Also played—VanKley, Granstra, Heemskerk, DeJong, Marra, Wynja, Buren. Totals—26, 15-21
Regina (49) — Wiese 22, Sarah Lehman 9, Crompton 5, Wallace 5, Alexa Lehman 4, Dunne 2, Dumont 2. Also played—Gaarde, Corkery, Bracken, Wick, VanLandschoot, Gahan, Dunn. Totals—15, 18-21
Western Christian…20 13 23 17 — 71
Regina—7 15 17 10 — 49
3-point field goals—WC 4: Feenstra 1, Bousema 1, Veerbeek 1, Winterfield 1. R 1: Wallace 1. Fouls—WC 16. R 19. Fouled out—WC: none. R: Wiese
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.