Remsen St. Mary’s girls set to take on West Fork in first ever state game

Wednesday, March 1, 2023
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) The Remsen St. Mary’s girls basketball team celebrates as the final buzzer sounded in their regional final game. The Hawks will head to the state tournament for the first time in school history as they try to get a win in the first round over West Fork.

No. 4-seed Remsen St. Mary’s (23-1) vs. No. 5-seed West Fork (24-0) Wednesday, 3:15 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena

Remsen St. Mary’s earned their first ever trip to the girls state basketball tournament and they will be making their debut against West Fork.

If the opponent sounds vaguely familiar to Remsen St. Mary’s fans, the two schools met in the state quarterfinal round in boys basketball in 2020, a game RSM lost at the last second by a 55-53 score.

West Fork is made up of Chapin, Dougherty, Meservey, Rockwell, Swaledale, Sheffield and Thornton, communities in North Central Iowa.

West Fork made their only other state appearance in 2011, bowing out in the Class 2A state quarterfinals. Some of the former schools which make up the current West Fork did have state appearances of their own.

West Fork is the largest Class 1A school by BEDs numbers and they just dropped down a class this season. Last year they played in a Class 2A regional final where they lost to Dike-New Hartford, the eventual state champion.

The Warhawks brought back their top four scorers from last year’s team which helped them advance to state.

The top scorer for West Fork is 5-11 senior Emma Martinek. She averages just over 15 points per game. Despite her size, which is tied for tallest on the team, she doesn’t just stick around the low block. She is the team’s most prolific 3-point shooter and knocks them down at a solid 37 percent success rate. Martinek leads the Warhawks in rebounds (172) and blocked shots (24). She is third on the team in steals (70) and assists (57).

Leah and Ellie Weaver are next on the team in scoring, averaging 11.6 and 8.7 points per game, respectively. Leah is a 5-9 sophomore and leads the team with 110 steals and 103 assists. Senior Ellie is 5-7 and is second on the team in steals and assists.

West Fork leads the Class 1A field with 21.1 steals per game, but their aggressive nature also means they average more fouls per game than all but one other team in the 1A field.

The Hawks will try to capitalize on that as they knock down their free throws at a 62.7 percent clip, the third highest of the eight teams left in 1A.

RSM has one of the best free-throw shooters in the state on their roster in Mya Bunkers. The junior has made over 87 percent of her attempts this season, the eighth best among all classes for those who have attempted at least 18. If you up the attempts to those with at least 45 on the season, she moves up to fourth on the list.

On the other side, Martinek shoots free throws at a 78.7 percent success rate while Leah Weaver makes them at a 70.8 percent clip. The rest of the team combines to make just 48 percent of their free throws. Taking away Bunkers’ attempts, the rest of the RSM roster makes free throws at a 58.4 percent rate.

Along with being a top free throw shooter, the 5-9 Bunkers leads the Hawks with 88 assists.

Whitney Jensen, a 5-10 junior guard, leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game and has made nearly 55 percent of her shots from the field this season. She is also the team leader in rebounds (130), steals (104) and blocks (25). She is tied for second on the team with 83 assists.

5-7 junior Carmindee Ricke adds 11.2 points per game along with 117 rebounds, 90 steals, 83 assists and 10 blocks.

Claire Schroeder and Halle Galles have rounded out the starting five most of the season. The 5-10 Schroeder averages 9.3 points per game and is second on the team in rebounds. Galles, standing at 5-6 and the fifth junior in the regular starting lineup, averages just under five points per game.

The winner of the quarterfinal game will face either top-seeded Bishop Garrigan or No. 8 seed Martensdale-St. Marys in Friday’s semifinal round at 1:30 p.m.

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