Valley holds off IC West, will play for 1st state title Saturday

Valley holds off IC West, will play for 1st state title Saturday

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Valley holds off IC West, will play for 1st state title Saturday

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Valley celebrates a win in the 5A state semifinal game against Iowa City West March 3, 2017.

Valley celebrates a win in the 5A state semifinal game against Iowa City West March 3, 2017.

Zoe Young got fouled with 42 seconds left while Valley led Iowa City West, 50-48, in the Class 5A semifinals. West was trying to steal the ball, but it didn’t mind the foul either.

If the Valley sophomore with offers from just about everywhere has one weakness, it’s free-throw shooting. She entered Friday shooting 49 percent from the line and she’d gone 2 of 4 against West until this point.

This time? Bang. Bang. Easy money.

Young drained both free throws and sucked West’s momentum dry. The second-ranked Tigers went on to win, 55-48, and advance to the 5A title game tomorrow night against No. 5 Cedar Falls.

“She knew. She wasn’t going to miss those,” Shea Fuller said of Young. “She knew deep down in her heart that she could make those.”

Young finished with seven points. Hannah Fuller led Valley with 13 points. Alex Honnold scored 12. Shea Fuller added nine and Jackie Feldt and Jamie Feldt chipped in seven apiece.

The Women of Troy, playing without Rachael Saunders, who injured her left knee in West’s quarterfinal, led, 21-14, at halftime. They outslugged the Tigers in an ugly, defensive brawl for those first 16 minutes. They shot 25 percent, compared to Valley’s 23 percent, and the two teams combined for 17 turnovers.

But Valley emerged from the locker room a different team. It outscored West, 20-10, in the third quarter. The Fuller sisters started pushing inside. Young wasn’t content with perimeter jump shots. They shot 55 percent in the second half and held West to 35 percent. And they finished with 26 of their 55 points coming in the paint — an impressive ratio for a high school game.

“We got our momentum back,” Hannah Fuller said. “We came together as a team. We started talking about changing our attitudes, being positive. We hit adversity in the first half but we bounced back in the second and that’s what matters.”

Logan Cook paced West with 17 points and Cailyn Morgan, starting for Saunders, finished with 11. Katie McGrane added eight off the bench and Emma Koch had 10 rebounds — her third straight game with double-digit boards.

“I would guess there were maybe about 100 people in the crowd that thought we had a chance tonight without that kind of a player (Saunders),” West head coach BJ Mayer said. “And for our kids to come out and do what they did in the first half, put a charge on in that late fourth quarter to cut it back to one or two, it says a lot about their character.”

Valley now has a chance at its first girls state basketball title again. It was Class 5A runner-up to Waukee in 2015, 4A runner-up to Cedar Rapids Washington in 1995 and 6-on-6 runner up to South Hamilton of Jewell n 1965.

“I think that this is the year,” Hannah Fuller said. “We can do it. We have the pieces to the puzzle and we’ve got to bring it tomorrow. First quarter through fourth quarter.”

—————————–

Valley (55) — Hannah Fuller 13, Honnold 12, Shea Fuller 9, Young 7, Jackie Feldt 7, Jamie Feldt 7. Also played—Carr. Totals—16, 20/33.

Iowa City West (48) — Cook 17, Morgan 11, McGrane 8, Zacharias 6, Huinker 3, Beckner 2, Koch 1. Also played—Tauchen. Totals—13, 21/27

Valley…10 4 20 21 — 55

Iowa City West…9 12 10 17 — 48

3-point field goals—V 3: Young 1, Hannah Fuller 1, Shea Fuller 1. ICW 1: McGrane 1. Fouls—V: 27. ICW: 19. Fouled out—V: none. ICW: Huinker.

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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