Two teams who finished in the top three in their respective state tournaments in March met in the second game of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Girls Classic.
Western Christian, who was runner-up in Iowa’s Class 2A, narrowly defeated Sioux Falls O’Gorman, who placed third in South Dakota’s Class AA, 56-53 Saturday afternoon at the Sanford Pentagon.
Wolfpack coach Justin Negen said his team was honored to be able to play on Heritage Court at the Pentagon.
“We love coming here,” he said. “Just to get an opportunity to be able to play in this venue, this place is just awesome. Hopefully, they’ll keep inviting us back.”
The Knights (1-3) opened by scoring 10 of the game’s first 13 points thanks to a pair of a jumpers from Sam Czarnecki and Kendyl Kreber while Emma Ronsiek and McKenzie Hermanson made three-pointers. Hermanson’s three-pointer made the score 10-3 with 4:44 left in the first quarter.
Western Christian, located in Hull, Iowa, out-scored O’Gorman 15-11 the rest of the quarter to take a 21-18 lead at the end of the opening stanza.
The teams went back-and-forth in the second quarter to knot the game at 32-32 heading into halftime.
The Wolfpack scored 12 points to open the second half while holding the Knights to just five points in the third quarter. Western Christian led 44-37 heading into the final quarter.
The Wolfpack’s advantage would reach as many as eight at 49-41 following a jumper with Ashtyn Veerbeek at the 4:56 mark.
O’Gorman closed within two at 53-51 after Kreber made a layup with 22 seconds left. It would be as close as the Knights would get.
Western Christian’s Erika Feenstra added a layup and a free throw to push the Wolfpack margin back up to five at 56-51 with 12 seconds remaining. Kreber addded another layup for O’Gorman to make the score 56-53 with three seconds left.
After Kreber stole the ball on the ensuing Western Christian possession, the Knights had a chance to tie the game. Hermanson’s full-court pass was intercepted by Feenstra as the clock ran out.
The Wolfpack were led by Veerbeek, who finished with a double-double as she tallied a game-high 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Feenstra and Karsyn Winterfeld also scored in double figures as they had 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Negen said he admired how his team came back to earn the victory.
“I thought our girls did a nice job just kind of grinding back, little by little, so that was good to see,” he said.
O’Gorman coach Kent Kolsrud spoke with pride about his team, who will next be in action Thursday when they travel to Lincoln.
“I’m just tremendously proud of our kids,” he said. “I felt we battled really hard all night. Our kids came to compete and it had to be a fun basketball game to watch.”
Kreber and Ronsiek were two of three Knights players who finished with nine points to lead the team in scoring along with Sebastian Akoi.
Western Christian (Iowa) – 56
Feenstra 5-15 3-4 16, DeJager 1-4 0-0 2, Bousema 0-2 1-2 1, Veerbeek 9-18 3-5 22, Winterfeld 5-10 0-0 15, Heemskeerk 0-0 0-0 0, Marra 0-2 0-0 0, Wynja 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 20-51 7-11 56.
SF O’Gorman – 53
Hermanson 1-6 0-0 3, Beacom 3-8 0-0 7, Czarnecki 2-3 2-2 6, Kreber 4-9 1-2 9, S. Akoi 2-6 5-5 9, Muller 1-1 0-0 2, Benson 1-2 0-0 2, Ronsiek 3-9 0-0 9, Baruth 3-8 0-0 6, Totals 20-52 8-9 53.
Western Christian (Iowa) 18 32 44 56
SF O’Gorman 21 32 37 53
3-point goals: WC 9-22 (Winterfeld 5), OG 5-17 (Ronsiek 3). Rebounds: WC 36 (Veerbeek 11), OG 27 (S. Akoi/Beacom/Hermanson 6 each). Assists: WC 16 (Bousema 7), OG 12 (Kreber 3). Blocks: WC 3 (Veerbeek 2), OG 4 (S. Akoi 3). Steals: WC 4 (Bousema/Feenstra/Heemskerk/Veerbeek 1 each), OG 11 (S. Akoi/Kreber 3 each). Turnovers: WC 17, OG 11. Fouled out – None.