Wahlert Gets a Win, and Some Help

By Jeff Linder, Reporter


By James Steward

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — They won. They waited. Then, they celebrated.

Class 3A seventh-ranked Dubuque Wahlert turned the game on its ear with a 22-0 second-half run and handled 4A No. 12 Cedar Rapids Prairie in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball contest Tuesday night at Prairie High School.

The good news didn’t end there for the Golden Eagles. Cedar Falls upset Cedar Rapids Washington, 55-54, giving Wahlert (16-4 overall, 11-4 MVC) a share of the Mississippi Division title.

Wahlert can win it outright if it beats Dubuque Senior on Thursday.

“We’re excited about it,” said Wahlert Coach Kris Spiegler after her team won its seventh straight game. “The kids have come together; they’ve got such great chemistry.

“We like the position we’re in.”

Tessa Leytem struck for 16 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, including 11 in a row during the Golden Eagles’ pivotal surge.

With Prairie (11-8, 8-7) leading 37-34, Leytem hit a 3-pointer to tie it, then turned a steal into a short jumper for a Wahlert lead. Then she hit two more treys as the Golden Eagles raced away.

“She took us on her shoulders, didn’t she?” Spiegler said. “She got hot, then everybody else followed.”

Leytem was 6 of 9 from distance, highlighting Wahlert’s glossy 10-of-17 3-point production.

The Hawks held a 33-29 halftime lead, then extended it to 37-32. Wahlert scored 22 straight for a 54-37 advantage, and won comfortably.

Wahlert scored 24 baskets, 19 of which were assisted — mostly on sharp interior passes or kick-outs to outside shooters.

“We played a really good first half, then we lost our defensive intensity,” said Prairie Coach Steve Doser. “We lost track of Leytem, and we didn’t have anybody step up and score on the other end.”

Wahlert has put together its late-season run without University of Iowa recruit Claire Till, who had surgery in January to repair some cartilage issues in her knee.

Alisa Weiland led Prairie with 13 points. Madison Dellamuth posted 10 points and six assists.

Prairie was without leading scorer Courteney McCrary, who was sidelined due to coach’s decision.
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