For two seasons now, no team has been able to solve the riddle that is Newell-Fonda.
With a suffocating press defense, tremendous speed and an offense averaging 78 points per game, the Mustangs came into Friday’s Class 1A girls state semifinal against St. Ansgar with 52 consecutive wins, including last year's state title game win over West Hancock.
From the opening tip-off, St. Ansgar had no answers for the Mustangs, as the Saints fell 84-33 at Wells Fargo Arena.
The scoring started four seconds into the game with a 3-pointer from Mustangs’ junior Maggie Walker. After Hali Anderson responded with a layup for the Saints, the Mustangs went on a 15-0 scoring run. By the end of the first quarter, Newell-Fonda led the Saints, 31-13.
In the second quarter, the Mustangs outscored the Saints, 28-9 and led at halftime, 59-22.
In the first half, the Mustangs shot 63.2 percent from the field, compared to 36.4 percent for the Saints. St. Ansgar also gave up 17 turnovers in the first half, while Newell-Fonda surrendered only two.
In the second half, the Mustangs outscored the Saints, 25-11, to advance to their third straight state title game.
Against the Mustangs’ suffocating press defense, the Saints gave up 26 turnovers. The Saints shot just 33 percent from the field, while Newell-Fonda finished at 55.6 percent. St. Ansgar shot just 3-of-12 from 3-point territory, while Newell-Fonda went 11-for-23. The Mustangs' speed on transition plays was astounding at times, and the team finished the day with 20 steals.
Four players scored in double-digits for Newell-Fonda. Macy Sievers led the way with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Maggie Walker was close behind with 17 points, while Ella Larsen and Ellie Lago finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Hannah Patterson and Hali Anderson tied for the team high with eight points apiece for St. Ansgar.
For the Saints, it was a disappointing ending to a solid season. St. Ansgar finished the year with a 22-3 record, and advanced to the programs’ first state tournament since 2001. Most of the starting lineup will return next season for the Saints, as Hannah Patterson is the only graduating player.
Newell-Fonda will play either Marquette Catholic or Bishop Garrigan at 7 p.m. Saturday as the Mustangs try to win their second straight state championship.
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