If there was any disappointment in losing to mighty Incarnate Word Academy in the Class 4 state semifinals, the Marshfield Lady Jays didn’t show it.
In fact, Marshfield was already looking ahead to today’s third-place game after falling to the Red Knights 59-33 on Friday at Mizzou Arena.
“It’s our last game together and we’re going to have so much fun together,” Marshfield senior Alison VanDiggelen said. “It’s going to be so much fun. We can’t wait to get out there one more time.”
The Lady Jays (25-6) will take on St. Joseph Benton (20-9) at 11 a.m. today at Mizzou Arena.
By then, Friday’s game figures to be a distant memory. At least that’s what Marshfield coach Shelly Jones was hoping.
“For us, our thing has been to cleanse yourself of a big loss or a big win, so you can fill yourself up for the next game. We said to leave this in the locker room,” Jones said. “We’ll be coming up against another great team.”
There may not be a greater team than Incarnate Word.
Ranked second or third in the nation depending on which poll you look at, the Red Knights scored the game’s first 10 points and methodically pulled away from Marshfield in the first half.
It was 12-2 after one quarter and 32-9 at halftime.
“I thought defensively we did an outstanding job. We set the tone in the first half limiting them to nine points,” Incarnate Word coach Dan Rolfes said. “Everything starts with defense with us, and tonight we did a great job with that.”
Marshfield made 3 of 14 shots in the first half (21 percent) and finished the game 12 of 37 from the field and 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
Lauren Aldridge led the Lady Jays with seven points and four assists. VanDiggelen added six points and six rebounds, and Peyton Greenlee finished with five points and four boards.
And there were positives. Marshfield outscored Incarnate Word’s top unit 15-13 in the third quarter and won the rebounding battle 27-23.
But Incarnate Word’s overwhelming start was too much to overcome.
“We came out in the first half a little shell-shocked and a little stunned. I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was a little bit of the aura of the final four, and being our first time, here,” Jones said.
“But I thought in the second half we were resilient, we fought. One of the things I was proud of was that we didn’t give up. There was some good things that came out of this”
Prized recruit Napheesa Collier led Incarnate Word (30-1) with 24 points, nine blocked shots, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
“My brother loves Johnny Manziel,” Aldridge said. “He always talks about how you can’t stop Manziel, you just have to hope you can contain him. She’s that kind of player.”
Collier went 12 for 12 from the field, missing only a pair of free throws in the first quarter.
Senior center Gwen Adams added 18 points and seven boards for the Red Knights, who will take on Dexter in today’s championship game.
“It’s hard to win every game,” Rolfes said. “We prepared for this game the way we prepared for the first game of the season. We get ready for every team we play the same way.
“It gets them in the mode of not taking anyone lightly. When they hit the floor, they’re ready to play.”