RSM girls fall to top-seeded Bishop Garrigan in state semifinals
DES MOINES — Remsen St. Mary’s had their season come to an end in the Class 1A state semifinal round on Friday, March 3, at Wells Fargo Arena. The fourth-seeded Hawks fell to top-seeded and defending state champion Bishop Garrigan of Algona by a final score of 73-39.
“It wasn’t the start that we wanted,” RSM Head Coach Scott Willman said. “We tried to really put a squeeze on Audi Crooks, and we did, and then we knew if they hit their threes, and they were going to have threes, that’s what we gave up to take away Audi. We didn’t take away Audi completely, she’s such a great player, but they hit their threes and continued to hit their threes and we didn’t.”
The Golden Bears had the golden touch shooting the ball. The team jumped out to a 42-16 halftime advantage while shooting over 70 percent from the field. While cooling down some in the second half, Garrigan still shot over 59 percent for the contest. Meanwhile, the Hawks shot 16.7 percent in the first half and 24.6 percent for the game.
“They had really good man defense,” RSM junior Whitney Jensen said. “It was just really hard to get something going.”
Garrigan scored the first 10 points of the contest, getting an early bucket from 6-foot-3 star Crooks and then a pair of 3-pointers from Zoe Montag. Crooks capped off the run with another basket as she finished the game with 26 points, going 10-of-11 from the field and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. She added 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Claire Schroeder, one of the tallest RSM team members standing 5-10, said it was a tough challenge going up against Crooks.
“She’s a great player, there’s not much you can do to stop her,” Schroeder said. “She’s really good, but we did our best. We left it all out there. Our plan was, we were going to put a triangle around her, we were going to do our best to keep her from getting the ball down low, but they still got amazing passers who were getting it in to her and they had so many 3-pointers fall for them today.”
Pulling in extra players to guard Crooks left others open on the perimeter and the Golden Bears were able to cash in. Garrigan made 10 3-pointers in the game. Molly Joyce knocked down four as she finished with 16 points. Montag ended with three as all nine of her points came from the perimeter. Emmi Bartolo added two more and ended with 10 points.
RSM struggled getting the ball inside against Crooks and found most of their success in the first half from the perimeter as Jensen, Claire Schroeder and Halle Galles all hit threes. Carmindee Ricke got the hoop and the harm for another three point possession for RSM, but that was about it for the offense in the first half.
The team wasn’t able to add a 3-pointer after halftime, going 0-of-10 from distance in the second half and finishing with a 14.8 percent success rate for the game.
Claire Schroeder ended as the leading scorer for the Hawks with 11 points. She knocked down a pair of 3-pointers while attempting nine from outside, doubling her total shots from the beyond the arc as she entered the game shooting 1-of-9 from the perimeter this season.
“They told me going in I was going to have to shoot those 3-pointers,” Schroeder said. “I just kept shooting them and a couple fell.”
Ricke added nine points while Jensen scored six. Grace Galles came off the bench to knock down a couple shots in the second half as she finished with five points. Mya Bunkers and Halle Galles scored three points apiece.
The final two points came at the very end of the game as Lotta Bamberger, a foreign exchange student from Germany, knocked down a turnaround in the lane at the buzzer in what was the biggest highlight of the game for the team.
“It was a very good way to end it because everybody’s feeling like we’re going to lose the game, but we can be happy for a situation and that was fun,” Willman said.
With the win, Bishop Garrigan has reached the title game four consecutive years.
Remsen St. Mary’s finishes the season with a 24-2 record. They graduate one senior, Gracyn Schroeder, from this year’s roster.
“She has been a solid influence as a senior,” Willman said of Gracyn. “She comes off the bench for us and we’ve utilized her as a 3-point scorer. She’s hit some critical threes throughout the season for us at moments when we really needed a shot.”
The Hawks are optimistic about a return trip to state next year as they are set to return all five starters for their senior season. Jensen said playing in two state tournament games is something to build on for next year.
“I think it just gives us a lot more confidence that we can bring more power and we can be able to get farther next year and meet our goal,” Jensen said.