Girls Basketball: Benton Bows Out In 4A Quarterfinals

By Jeff Linder and John Campbell, Reporters

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By Grant Burkhardt

Remember, you can watch every game of the girls state basketball tournament live on KCRG 9.2.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The same phrase passed Madison Weekly’s lips three times in a brief postgame interview.

“We couldn’t get into a flow.”

Credit the eighth-ranked Harlan Cyclones, who slowed both of the top two scorers for No. 3 Benton Community, and sidelined the Bobcats, 52-42, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the girls state basketball tournament Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Harlan (22-2) scored the first nine points of the second half to break a 22-22 stalemate. Then, after the Bobcats (21-3) crept within a point midway through the fourth quarter, the Cyclones pulled away from the line.

The Cyclones were 17 of 23 from the stripe. Benton was 2 for 2.

“We’ve been working on free throws all year. I think all of us showed really good composure at the end,” said Harlan’s Liz Riessen.

Harlan will face No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock (22-2) in a semifinal at 6:45 Thursday night.

For Benton, this season ended the same way as the previous two — in the state quarterfinals. Last year, Weekly didn’t get to play here because of a broken wrist. This year, she was contained somewhat by the Cyclones.

The UNI recruit was held to 11 points, about 8 below her average. Freshman Alyssa Wiebel, a double-digit scorer throughout the season, managed six points.

“We didn’t attack their 2-3 (zone),” said Benton Coach Laurie Donald. “We looked to pass rather than score.”

Benton had one very good stretch. Down 9-2, the Bobcats scored 12 straight points for a 14-9 advantage.

But Harlan got even at 22-all by halftime, then made the first run of the second half for a nine-point lead.

The Bobcats got within 41-40 on Sara Petrzelka’s two free throws with 3:42 to play, but Harlan concluded the game with an 11-2 run.

“I wish I could tell you what happened at that point,” Donald said. “I thought the tide was turning our way. But we couldn’t get over the hump.”

Elle Kloewer led the Cyclones with 11 points. Riessen and Jess Schaben added 10 apiece.

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