Norse knock off No. 6 Lions to earn state bid

Joe Randleman Staff Writer
On to State! Photo by Kevin Patterson

CLARION — Flawless execution on defense and clutch plays by several different individuals down the stretch on offense earned No. 11 Roland-Story a 44-43 win over No. 6 Clear Lake in the Class 3A regional finals Saturday in Clarion.

The Norse came back from a 10-point deficit to knock off the Lions and punch their ticket to state for the first time since 2011.

“This win didn’t come down to talent or simple basketball fundamentals, it came down to each and every Roland-Story basketball player leaving their blood, sweat and tears on the floor,” Roland-Story head girls’ basketball coach Justin Morton said. “From the girls on the bench to the starters, everyone played a huge role in our game preparation and in our game tonight. We took zero plays off on the night and made our own luck at times and things worked out our way. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of girls.”

Roland-Story was down 31-21 in the third quarter when Kylie Tjernagel scored six straight points, hitting a 3-pointer and converting a layup and a free throw, to get the Norse back in the game.

Late in the fourth quarter, Roland-Story was still down four.

Juliann Clark came up with a big steal and she found Susie Weaver for a 3-point basket to get the Norse within one. On its next possession, Roland-Story ran a play for freshman Reagan Barkema, who drained a clutch 3-pointer to give the Norse their first lead of the game.

Roland-Story was able to hang on from there to earn its spot in the state tournament.

Barkema had 15 points and six rebounds, Tjernagel 11 points and Clark eight points, five rebounds and three assists. Reece Johnson chipped in four points and two assists and Weaver three points and a block.

“Not one player cares who scores or who gets the glory,” Morton said of the balanced effort. “All they care about is giving their absolute best to the team and the girl next to them. That’s why we’re going to the Well (Wells Fargo Arena).”

MaKayla Geise also scored three points and she was huge defensively. Geise blocked three shots and also pulled down six rebounds, helping the Norse hold Clear Lake to 33-percent shooting from the field.

“Our game plan was to limit their open 3-point looks and to make them bounce into our 6’1 post — MaKayla Geise — and our help side defense. I think MaKayla had around three blocks and altered several shots,” Morton added.

Roland-Story was outstanding at defending the perimeter. The Norse held Clear Lake to 5 of 22 shooting from 3-point range and held leading Lion scorer Sara Faber to 5 of 14 shooting from the field, 3 of 9 shooting from the line and 14 points after she entered the game averaging over 18.

“We wanted to wear down their all-state guard Sara Faber by throwing three different defenders at her,” Morton said. “Maddie Morton, Reece Johnson and Kylie Tjernagel, along with phenomenal team defense, really wore Faber down.”

Roland-Story heads into the state tournament with a 19-5 record. The Norse will be the No. 6 seed and face No. 3 seed Des Moines Christian (22-2) in the 3A quarterfinals next Monday at 8:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Clear Lake finished 17-5. Faber ended up with 10 rebounds to go along with her scoring total, Chelsey Holck had eight points and two steals, Julia Merfeld seven points, four rebounds and two assists and Zoe Fasbender four points, five rebounds and five assists for the Lions.

Roland-Story 44, Clear Lake 43

RS 7 10 13 14 - 44

CL 14 11 7 11 - 43

Roland-Story (44) - Jordyn Ramus 0-1 0-0 0, Juliann Clark 3-8 1-2 8, Amy Rathmacher 0-2 0-0 0, Madeline Morton 0-6 0-0 0, Reece Johnson 1-4 2-3 4, Susie Weaver 1-3 0-0 3, Reagan Barkema 4-6 4-5 15, MaKayla Geise 1-1 1-2 3, Kylie Tjernagel 4-6 1-2 11. Totals: 14-37 9-14 44. 3-point field goals (7): Barkema 3, Tjernagel 2, Clark, Weaver. Rebounds (30): Barkema 6, Geise 6. Assists (7): Clark 3. Steals (2): Clark, Tjernagel. Blocks (5): Geise 3, Rathmacher, Weaver. Fouls: 16.

Clear Lake (43) - Sara Faber 5-14 3-9 14, Julia Merfeld 3-8 0-1 7, Lexi Fasbender 2-7 0-0 6, Chelsey Holck 2-6 3-4 8, Ali Maulsby 0-1 0-0 0, Kaitlyn VanderPloeg 1-2 0-0 2, Zoe Fasbender 2-8 0-1 4, Mikayla VanderPloeg 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 16-49 6-15 43. 3-point field goals (5): L. Fasbender 2, Faber, Merfeld, Holck. Rebounds (32): Faber 10. Assists (8): Z. Fasbender 5. Steals (5): Holck 2. Blocks (1): Merfeld. Fouls: 16.

STORY CITY — Roland-Story played tough defense on the perimeter and took advantage of a big edge in free-throw attempts to dispose of Carroll, 50-44, in the Class 3A regional quarterfinals Feb. 13 at Story City.

The No. 11 Norse held Carroll to 5 of 23 shooting from long range. They also made 14 of 24 foul shots and held the Tigers to nine attempts from the line.

Roland-Story took an 18-16 lead at the half after limiting Carroll to just two points in the first quarter. The Norse went up by three after three quarters, then scored 21 points down the stretch to hold off the Tigers and take an 18-5 record into the regional finals.

Reagan Barkema went for a game-high 18 points after making 6 of 8 field goals and 5 of 6 free throws for Roland-Story. Barkema also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out two assists.

Juliann Clark tacked on 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Madeline Morton had five points and three steals; Kylie Tjernagel five points and two steals; Jordyn Ramus four points; Susie Weaver three points; MaKayla Geise two points, eight rebounds and three blocks; and Reece Johnson two points and four boards.

Carroll ended its season at 14-9. Ella Collison had 15 points and six rebounds and Taylor Mohr eight points for the Tigers.

Roland-Story 50, Carroll 44

C 2 14 10 18 - 44

RS 7 11 11 21 - 50

Carroll (44) - Taylor Mohr 3-11 2-2 8, Laura Sweeney 1-9 0-0 0-2 0-0 0, Kennedy Lein 3-7 2-2 9, Ella Collison 6-13 3-5 15, Gabriella Hammer 2-6 0-0 6, Elizabeth Promes 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Onken 1-6 0-0 3. Totals: 16-54 7-9 44. 3-point field goals (5): Hammer 2, Sweeney, Lein, Onken. Rebounds (29): Collison 6. Assists (11): Sweeney 4. Steals (6): Lein 3. Blocks (2): Sweeney, Hammer. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Hammer.

Roland-Story (50) - Jordyn Ramus 2-3 0-0 4, Juliann Clark 3-8 4-9 11, Amy Rathmacher 0-1 0-0 0, Madeline Morton 1-5 2-2 5, Reece Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, Susie Weaver 1-5 0-0 3, Reagan Barkema 6-8 5-6 18, MaKayla Geise 1-1 0-0 2, Kylie Tjernagel 1-7 3-7 5. Totals: 16-41 14-24 50. 3-point field goals (4): Clark, Morton, Weaver, Barkema. Rebounds (35): Geise 8. Assists (8): Clark 3. Steals (8): Morton 3. Blocks (7): Geise 3. Fouls: 12.