RSM edges K-P in ranked regional girls basketball semifinal clash
REMSEN — No. 4 ranked Remsen St. Mary’s escaped with a win over No. 15 Kingsley-Pierson in their Class 1A girls basketball regional semifinal game on Friday. The Hawks came away with a 39-37 win.
“That’s gut-check basketball. We did what we needed to tonight and nothing came easy,” RSM Head Coach Scott Willman said. “I’ve got to give Kingsley-Pierson a lot of credit. They get out and they play really tight defense and they make you earn everything. I’d like to say that we do the same thing.”
Kingsley-Pierson led by as many as six midway through the first quarter and held a one point advantage entering the final quarter. The game was tied as late as just over a minute left in the contest.
While the final outcome wasn’t what the Panthers were hoping for, K-P Head Coach Nicole Goodwin said her team gave it their all.
“We knew it was going to be a battle. My girls came and they played. They put four quarters together. We battle each eight minutes,” Goodwin said. “I’m so proud of them and yeah it’s going to sting a little bit, and they’re all kicking themselves but please do not think of what didn’t fall or what I could have done. I said just know how proud I am of you. Know how far you’ve come. You’ve knocked off a rated team in the conference tournament. You almost knocked off these guys and if it was meant to be, it would have fell.”
The Panthers forced a timeout from their opponent with 3:51 left in the first quarter as the team took a 9-3 lead. Avery Schroeder knocked down a 3-pointer and added another bucket which led to the timeout. Those baskets accounted for all of Schroeder’s scoring in the game.
The Hawks rallied back with the next 11 points. Gracyn Schroeder hit her only bucket of the night, a 3-pointer which Willman said provided a much-needed spark.
“Gracyn Schroeder’s the only senior on our team. We were down 9-3 and they had made a run and she came in and countered that with a three and that was a big thing for us at that moment,” Willman said.
Claire Schroeder provided the final four points of the quarter to give the Hawks a slim 10-9 lead after the first eight minutes of play. She knocked down a pair of free throws and then added a bucket to put the Hawks in front.
“We just were driving and getting those fouls. Taking it at them. That’s just what we had to do to start it,” Claire Schroeder said.
She finished the game with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. Half of the points came at the foul line and she said it was a battle all night going for rebounds.
“It was a fight. They were really good rebounders and they got some good posts down there that do a really good job of boxing out, so it was hard to get around there for the rebounds, but we worked through it,” Claire Schroeder said.
While Schroeder finished 3-of-11 shooting in the game against a tough K-P defense, Willman said he liked how his team was looking to get the ball underneath the basket.
“Claire Schroeder, she was able to work hard down low. We were able to hit her down low when she’s working hard. I thought we had better angles than maybe in some previous games to get her the ball down low,” Willman said.
Mya Bunkers and Carmindee Ricke got the first two baskets of the second quarter for the Hawks to complete the run. Bunkers finished with six points and the same number of rebounds. Ricke scored nine points and led the team with five blocks, five steals and four assists. She also grabbed seven rebounds.
“I’ve got to give it to Carmindee Ricke. She maybe had a slow start, but I thought she came on very, very strong and her leadership really showed at the end of the game for us,” said Willman as Ricke’s only points of the first half came on that early second quarter bucket.
RSM stretched their lead to 19-12 midway through the second quarter on a 3-pointer from Halle Galles as she finished with nine points in the game.
The Hawks held a five point halftime lead, but saw it slowly slip away as the Panthers outscored the Hawks 11-5 in the third quarter. Makenna Bowman hit a 3-pointer in the quarter and was at the foul line when she knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Panthers on top 27-26 at the end of the third quarter. She finished with seven points and the same number of rebounds for the Panthers.
RSM got the first two buckets of the fourth quarter from Galles and Ricke before a layup from Gabby Boustead came on the other end of the court. Claire Schroeder and Bunkers tried to give the Hawks some breathing room with back-to-back buckets, but the Panthers countered with mid range shots from Addi Foster and Bowman to pull back to within one. A free throw from Foster then tied the game.
Whitney Jensen fouled out with under two minutes to go as the junior ended up being held scoreless in the contest. The foul put Bowman at the free-throw line with the opportunity to give the Panthers the lead, but she missed both shots.
Ricke got a layup and followed with a free throw to give the Hawks a lead of three, but she missed her second free throw attempt which would have made it a two-possession game.
“I like how our team responded. We were up by four or five late, they hit a shot that probably shouldn’t have gone in and then they ended up shortly after that tying it,” Willman said. “It was a bit of a time for us to see how we’d respond and did really well with that. Toward the end of the game we ran a two girl game on the outside. Carmindee Ricke was able to come in and create and score and that was huge. We should have hit a few more free throws, put it away, but it kept it going until the end.”
More missed free throws, from Ricke and Bunkers, kept the Panthers alive. On the other end, Sydney Doeschot missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Galles added a 1-of-2 showing, the same as Allison Reinking on the other end, to maintain a three point difference.
Claire Schroeder stepped to the free-throw line with 7.1 seconds left with the opportunity to make it a two-possession game.
“It’s really nerve wracking,” Schroeder said of the situation. “It’s like you’ve got to make this or you could be in trouble.”
She did make the first, but missed the second, ending 6-of-10 at the foul line, but it was enough to be able to pull off the win.
“It feels really good,” Schroeder said of getting the win. “We worked our butts off that game and it’s paying off, so it’s a really good feeling.”
Doeschot got a putback at the buzzer to make it a one possession final score, the last of her game-high 15 points. She also led the team with five steals and pulled down five rebounds.
While Doeschot was still able to reach double digits, Willman said holding the freshman scorer to seven points below her season scoring average was still a win.
“Halle Galles did a great job on Doeschot for the night. Holding her to 15 is a credit to her. Doeschot, for a freshman or for any age, she is one heck of a player. She gets things done. They also have a very desired senior class that goes with her,” Willman said.
Doeschot finishes her freshman season with exactly 500 points. She is one of just 12 players across the state who have reached that mark this season and one of only two freshman to do so. The senior class along with her was Reinking, Bowman, Schroeder, Boustead and Hannah Koch.
Goodwin said the growth of the team from the start of the season to the end was amazing to see and the seniors were a large part of that.
“My seniors, from last year and stepping into a new role this year than what they had to do and taking the younger ones under their arms and leading them, the growth has been phenomenal,” Goodwin said. “My five seniors, oh my goodness am I proud of them. They have taken a very, very young team and been very successful. I don’t think anybody ever expected them to be.”
The Panthers finish the season with an 18-5 record as their winning streak of 10 games entering the contest was snapped. Four of Kingsley-Pierson’s five losses came to teams who will be playing in regional final games. That includes two losses to RSM, who won the first meeting 52-43, along with losses to Hinton and Westwood. The Panthers did avenge their loss to Westwood to bring home a Western Valley Conference tournament championship.
Remsen St. Mary’s (22-1) advances to play Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton (19-4) in the regional final which is set to be played in Mapleton.
Kingsley-Pierson ended up replacing Exira/EHK in the final set of rankings by the IGHSAU, but Willman knows the Spartans will be ready to play as they have made it to state in six of the previous eight seasons.
“We see Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton and they are a team that’s been at state now for the last few years,” Willman said. “We’ve got to move through a nice group of three teams to get there. We’re taking the challenge to heart, but we’ve got a squad that likes those challenges too. I know it’s something that our girls are looking forward to, but we’ve got to bring game.”
For Remsen St. Mary’s, who has never been to the state tournament, getting to Des Moines would be a dream come true. Claire Schroeder said the team has to stay focused in order to achieve that goal.
“We’ll look at the team and prepare and we’ll leave it all out on the court,” Claire Schroeder said.