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Roland-Story girls punch tickets to state: Grady, defense lift Norse past No. 7 DMC, 38-29

Joe Randleman
Story City Herald
The Roland-Story girls' basketball team celebrates with its girls' state basketball qualifier banner after defeating Des Moines Christian, 38-29, in the Class 3A regional finals Saturday at Saydel High School in Des Moines. The Norse will face Unity Christian (22-2) in the 3A state quarterfinals next Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Des Moines.

DES MOINES – The Roland-Story girls are headed to state after taking down seventh-ranked Des Moines Christian, 38-29, in the Class 3A regional final at Saydel High School Saturday. 

The Norse, ranked eighth, were amazing defensively. They led 13-9 at the half, went up by five after three quarters then pulled away in the fourth quarter to punch their tickets to state for the second time in three years. 

“I'm so proud of our girls,” Roland-Story head coach Justin Morton said. “We talked throughout the season about how we have to go out and earn what we want in life.  The girls definitely did that in this victory.  We didn't trail the entire game and showed great grit and determination throughout the game.” 

Roland-Story held Des Moines Christian (20-4) scoreless for over seven minutes to start the game. The Lions didn’t get their first field goal until nearly nine minutes went off the clock. 

“Our defense the entire night was outstanding,” Morton said. “We did a great job of identifying their shooters and playing off their non-shooters to help slow down their Division 1 signee (Moriah) Prewitt.   

Prewitt, a Northern Illinois recruit, scored 15 points. But she only made 2 of 11 shots from the field. Madeline Morton and Ava Charlson spent most of the time guarding Prewitt. 

Roland-Story senior Madeline Morton played a big role in holding Des Moines Christian senior and Northern Illinois recruit Moriah Prewitt to 2 of 11 shooting during the Norse's 38-29 win over the Lions in the 3A regional finals Saturday at Saydel High School in Des Moines.

The phenomenal defense helped Roland-Story overcome a 31 % shooting night from the field. The Norse also did a great job on the glass, pulling down 35 rebounds as a team. 

Senior Dani Grady came up big for Roland-Story in the win. She stepped up with a team-high 14 points after making 4 of 7 3-pointers. 

“Last season during our regional final game Dani was in the hospital with a collapsed lung and was unable to play,” Justin Morton said. “It was great to see her come out and have a great game for us tonight.”  

Reagan Barkema added 10 points, eight rebounds and two steals for the Norse. Morton added four points and seven rebounds, Reece Johnson two points, six rebounds and four assists, Madison Martindale four points and rebounds apiece and Charlson and Jadyn Nelson two points apiece. 

 Roland-Story heads into the state tournament with a 17-4 record. The Norse are the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 seed Unity Christian (22-2) in the 3A quarterfinals next Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. 

Roland-Story and Unity Christian will tip off at 9 a.m. 

Roland-Story 38, Des Moines Christian 29 

RS        6    7   10   15 – 38 

DMC    2    7     9   11 – 29 

Roland-Story (38) - Reece Johnson 0-6 2-5 2, Madeline Morton 1-7 2-2 4, Jadyn Nelson 0-1 2-2 2, Dani Grady 5-9 0-2 14, Reagan Barkema 3-9 3-5 10, Ava Charlson 0-0 2-2 2, Jordyn Ramus 0-0 0-0 0, Madi Bauer 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Martindale 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 11-36 11-18 38. 3-point field goals (5): Grady 4, Barkema. Rebounds (35): Barkema 8. Assists (9): Johnson 4. Steals (3): Barkema 2. Blocks (3): Morton, Nelson, Grady. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Johnson.  

STORY CITY – A tremendous defensive showing in the first half and a strong close on offense gave Roland-Story a 53-40 victory over Knoxville in the Class 3A regional semifinals Feb. 17. 

The Norse held the Panthers to just 10 points in the first half. That enabled them to build a 16-point lead. 

Knoxville cut Roland-Story's lead in half after three quarters. But the Norse went for 17 points over the final eight minutes to pull away and improve to 16-4 on the season. 

Roland-Story held Knoxville to 1 of 10 shooting from 3-point range and 31 % shooting overall from the field. The Norse shot 41 % and made eight 3-pointers. 

Reece Johnson had 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists and steals apiece for Roland-Story. Dani Grady tallied nine points and six rebounds and Reagan Barkema eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. 

 Madison Martindale eight points, Madi Bauer seven, Jadyn Nelson five and Madeline Morton three. 

Knoxville finished its season with a 15-6 record. Maggie Wilkins had 15 points, six rebounds and four assists and Emma Dunkin 10 points and five rebounds for the Panthers. 

Roland-Story 53, Knoxville 40 

K       6     4   18   12 – 40 

RS   16   10   10   17 – 53 

Knoxville (40) - Maggie Wilkins 6-20 3-3 15, Marley McKay 1-4 0-2 2, Tara Uitermarkt 1-6 0-0 3, Ashlyn Finarty 1-1 2-4 4, Emma Dunkin 5-13 0-1 10, Larissa Wells 1-2 0-0 2, Brittany Bacorn 2-7 0-0 4, Charlee Heffron 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-55 5-10 40. 3-point field goals (1): Uitermarkt. Rebounds (33): McKay 9. Assists (9): Wilkins 4, Uitermarkt 4. Steals (6): Uitermarkt 3. Blocks: None. Fouls: 18. 

Roland-Story (53) - Reece Johnson 4-8 1-7 10, Madeline Morton 1-6 0-0 3, Jadyn Nelson 2-4 1-2 5, Dani Grady 2-3 3-4 7, Reagan Barkema 2-8 3-4 8, Ava Charlson 1-2 0-0 3, Jordyn Ramus 0-2 0-0 0, Madi Bauer 3-6 0-0 7, Madison Martindale 3-5 1-2 8. Totals: 18-44 9-19 53. 3-point field goals (8): Grady 2, Johnson, Morton, Barkema, Charlson, Bauer, Martindale. Rebounds (33): Johnson 8. Assists (12): Johnson 3, Barkema 3. Steals (6): Johnson 3. Blocks (2): Johnson, Nelson. Fouls: 14.