State girls' basketball: C.R. Xavier outlasts Harlan for Class 4-A title

State girls' basketball: C.R. Xavier outlasts Harlan for Class 4-A title

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State girls' basketball: C.R. Xavier outlasts Harlan for Class 4-A title

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Rarely glitzy, but ultimately triumphant.
That summarizes Cedar Rapids Xavier’s trek to the Class4-A title, which culminated Saturday with a tense 53-52 victory over Harlan at the state girls’ basketball tournament.
Kayla Armstrong hit the winning layup with 9seconds remaining, propelling the fifth-ranked Saints to their fourth championship in 11 years.
“I never once thought our team couldn’t pull through,” said Armstong, who finished with a season-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
Taylor Wagner tried to lift No.8 Harlan to a win in the closing moments, but lost control of the ball as she dribbled across half court.
“It was a great game,” Cyclones guard Liz Riessen said. “Everybody was hustling. We made some great moves out there. They made some great moves.”
Xavier (17-9) arrived in Des Moines without a single player averaging double figures in scoring or rebounding.
The Saints’ balance paid dividends, however, in a frantic final featuring 14 lead changes and six ties.
“Everyone brings what they have,” said senior center Ashley Stulken, who contributed 13 points and nine rebounds. “And we all put it together.”
The magnitude of the moment contributed to each team missing two free throws in the last 26 seconds.
Wagner put the Cyclones on the verge of a title when she sliced through the lane to give Harlan a 52-51 lead with 17 seconds left.
Fans from both schools held their breath as senior guard Sarah Dickes ignited Xavier’s rally.
“I was like, ‘We’ve got to go, go, go,”’ Armstrong said. “Sarah has always been really good about pushing it up the floor.”
Armstrong got the ball left of the lane and darted past scrambling defenders.
“It’s a little disappointing,” Riessen said. “I knew we had to get back. (Armstrong) made a great move.
“I thought it might roll off the back side.”
Harlan (23-3) called timeout with 6.1seconds remaining, but the ensuing in-bounds pass forced Wagner to navigate past several Xavier players while traveling the length of the court.
Dickes tipped the ball away before the Cyclones could get off a shot.
“We had a play drawn up, closer to the baseline,” Riessen said, “to dribble down and take the last layup.”
Wagner finished with 16 points, including two 3-pointers, but was shut out for 11½ minutes in the second half.
Jess Schaben picked up the slack, scoring 13 points and grabbing 19 rebounds.
The Saints owned a 10-0 edge in fast-break points.
Armstrong, a 5-foot-7 senior, made all six of her shots in the first half, scoring 12 points in 11 minutes.
“It’s a team effort every night,” she said. “You never know who is going to come out and who’s going to win big for you.
“Everyone throughout this season has had their nights.”

Harlan (52)–Reissen 0-3 0-0 0, Havick 0-1 0-0 0, Wagner 6-11 2-5 16, Kloewer 2-3 0-0 4, Esser 2-4 0-0 4, Schaben 5-12 3-5 13, Leinen 0-3 0-0 0, Moser 1-7 3-4 5, Swanson 0-1 0-0 0, Frederick 4-7 2-5 10. Totals 20-52 10-19.
Cedar Rapids Xavier (53)–Armstrong 10-12 3-6 23, Deutmeyer 2-7 1-2 6, Dickes S. 0-7 0-0 0, Bertsch 1-5 1-2 3, Stulken 6-15 1-5 13, Breitbach 1-1 2-2 4, Dickes J. 0-1 0-0 0, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, Anderson 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 22-54 8-17.
Harlan 8 20 13 11–52
Cedar Rapids Xavier 16 11 17 9–53
3-point goals–Harlan 2-9 (Riessen 0-3, Havick 0-1, Wagner 2-3, Leinen), Cedar Rapids Xavier 1-12 (Deutmeyer 1-4, Dickes S. 0-5, Anderson 0-3). Rebounds–Harlan 45 (Schaben 19), Cedar Rapids Xavier 29 (Stulken 9). Assists–Harlan 12 (Wagner 4), Cedar Rapids Xavier 11 (Dickes S. 4). Fouls–Harlan 14, Cedar Rapids Xavier 19.

All-tournament team, Class 4-A
Jess Schaben, Harlan
Ashley Stulken, Cedar Rapids Xavier
Aftin Phyfe, Waverly-Shell Rock
Megan McCarthy, Bishop Heelan
Taylor Wagner, Harlan
Kayla Armstrong, Cedar Rapids Xavier (captain)

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State girls' basketball: C.R. Xavier outlasts Harlan for Class 4-A title
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