Norse can’t keep up with explosive Knights in 3A state quarterfinals: R-S finishes with 17-5 record

Joe Randleman
Story City Herald
Madeline Morton and the rest of the Roland-Story seniors guided the Norse back to state after a rough start to the 2020-2021 season. Roland-Story fell to eventual champion Unity Christian in the Class 3A quarterfinals March 2, 70-42, to finish 17-5.

DES MOINES – The shots were falling early, so Roland-Story tried to run with Unity Christian in the Class 3A quarterfinals of the girls’ state basketball tournament March 2. 

But the sixth-seeded Norse simply didn’t have the firepower to keep up with the Knights’ Schoonhoven sisters in suffering a 70-42 setback. 

“They’re very good at what they do and when you have two great athletes like the Schoonhoven girls it makes it tough,” Roland-Story head coach Justin Morton said. “We tried to take away their easy looks, but they’re very good at getting out in transition and scoring. They struggled with our 1-3-1 at first, but then started to find the gaps – there's a reason they lead the state in field-goal percentage.” 

Reece Johnson scored seven quick points, Reagan Barkema hit a pair of 3-pointers and Madison Martindale and Jadyn Nelson combined for seven points inside to get Roland-Story out to a 23-20 lead early in the second quarter. But it wasn’t long until the Norse shots stopped going in and the Schoonhoven sisters took over. 

Unity Christian surged ahead by a 33-27 score at the half. Barkema hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half to start the third quarter, but Janie Schoonhoven followed with two baskets, Gracie Schoonhoven hit a couple free throws and the Knights were off and running.” 

“We stuck with them until we got to halftime and then I think we got a little nervous,” Barkema said. “They just played a really good game. That’s how things go.” 

Roland-Story's Madi Bauer drives the baseline against Unity Christian's Josi Byl during the Norse's 70-42 loss to the Knights in the 3A quarterfinals of the girls' state basketball tournament March 2 in Des Moines.

The Schoonhoven sisters combined for 47 points. Gracie had 24 points, five assists and four steals and Janie 23 points and 10 rebounds. 

“Those two are fantastic players,” Barkema said. “I mean one of them misses a shot the other is going to put it back up. We had that battle back and forth down low in the post we just kind of loss because we don’t have that size.” 

Unity Christian hammered Roland-Story on the boards, outrebounding the Norse 42-22. The Knights also committed just six turnovers. 

Barkema ended up with 14 points, five rebounds and two blocks and assists apiece for Roland-Story in a losing effort. Johnson had seven points and four assists and Martindale did her best to counter Unity Christian’s size advantage by contributing eight points and six rebounds off the bench. 

“I knew I was going to have to step up in the paint offensively,” Martindale said. “I tried my best.” 

Madi Bauer also was productive off the bench with five points. Nelson and Madeline Morton each scored three points and Madison Geise added two. 

Roland-Story finished the season at 17-5. The Norse came a long way from the beginning of the season when they lost by 32 points to both Ballard and Gilbert in their first two games with a COVID quarantine sandwiched in between. 

“It’s been crazy to think about,” Barkema said. “Our first two games we lost by a combined total of 64 points and I don’t think that’s happened in a long time at Roland-Story. No one really thought we’d get here and here we are.” 

Barkema got emotional thinking about what the senior class of Martindale, Morton, Nelson, Dani Grady, Ava Charlson and Jordyn Ramus meant to herself and the rest of the program. 

Madison Martindale came up with eight points for Roland-Story in its 70-42 loss to eventual state champion Unity Christian in the Class 3A state quarterfinals March 2 in Des Moines.

“I can remember back to when we were third and fourth graders and me and Madi Bauer and Reece would always play up (a class),” Barkema said. “We got to have those senior leaders show us the Norse way. No one can replace their shoes, but we’re going to try and build off that with the girls we have and see how it goes from there.” 

Unity Christian went on to win the 3A state championship after defeating Clear Lake 58-42 in the semifinals then downing West Lyon in the championship game, 48-31, to finish 24-2. 

Unity Christian 70, Roland-Story 42 

RS    21    6      8     7 – 42 

UC   20   13   14   23 – 70 

Roland-Story (42) - Reece Johnson 3-9 0-2 7, Madeline Morton 1-5 0-2 3, Jadyn Nelson 0-2 3-4 3, Dani Grady 0-1 0-0 0, Reagan Barkema 5-10 0-0 14, Ava Charlson 0-1 0-0 0, Jordyn Ramus 0-0 0-0 0, Ellie Erickson 0-0 0-0 0, Lydia Oetker 0-1 0-0 0, Elizabeth Ihle 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Geise 1-1 0-0 2, Madi Bauer 1-1 2-2 5, Madison Martindale 3-6 2-2 8. Totals: 14-37 7-12 42. 3-point field goals (7): Barkema 4, Johnson, Morton, Bauer. Rebounds (22): Martindale 6. Assists (11): Johnson 4. Steals (2): Johnson, Barkema. Blocks (5): Barkema 2, Martindale 2. Fouls: 13. 

Unity Christian (70) - Tyra Hulstein 0-4 0-0 0, Tyra Schuiteman 0-7 0-0 0, Jenna Bouma 4-7 2-3 10, Gracie Schoonhoven 10-14 4-4 24, Janie Schoonhoven 10-19 3-5 23, Josie Byl 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie De Boer 2-2 0-1 5, Naomi Mellema 0-0 0-0 0, Amaya Van Essen 0-0 0-0 0, Rylee Visser 0-0 0-0 0, Anneke Klompien 1-1 0-0 2, Rebecca Dykstra 0-2 0-0 0, Emma Byker 2-7 0-0 6, Dacey Driesen 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 29-65 9-13 70. 3-point field goals (3): Byker 2, De Boer. Rebounds (42): J. Schoonhoven. Assists (14): G. Schoonhoven 5. Steals (10): G. Schoonhoven 4. Blocks (2): Schuiteman 2. Fouls: 6.