Girls State Basketball: Cascade Zones Its Way To Semis

By Jeff Linder and John Campbell, Reporters

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By Grant Burkhardt

Below is Jeff Linder's game story of Cascade's win over Bondurant-Farrar on Tuesday to get to the 3A semifinals. Follow for more at IowaPrepSports and watch all the games of the state tournament live on KCRG 9.2 and here online.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Cascade Cougars are devoted to defense.

"More than half of our practice is centered around defensive stuff, every day," said Holly Hunt.

All that shifting and all those stances. Grunt work that isn't glamorous, or much fun.

But Tuesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena, it did the trick. As it usually does for the Cougars.

Fourth-ranked Cascade held No. 5 Bondurant-Farrar without a basket for 25 1/2 minutes, and pulled away for a 33-26 victory in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the girls' state basketball tournament.

That's right. No field goals for 25 1/2 minutes. Difficult to grasp, isn't it?

"They made it really difficult for us to score," said Bondurant-Farrar's Lexi Atzen said. "We just couldn't get anything going."

Cascade (23-2) takes its shot at No. 1 Davenport Assumption in the semifinals at 3:15 Thursday afternoon. Assumption (23-2) blasted Red Oak, 71-25, Tuesday.

It took a while for the Cougars to clamp down on Bondurant-Farrar (17-7). The Lady Jays led 13-6 after one quarter. And for a Cascade, a team that surrenders a state-least 27.5 points per game, 13 points is quite a bit.

Atzen hit a basket at the 1:35 mark of the first quarter. Then came the drought, induced by Cascade's zone.

The Lady Jays got a smattering of free throws, but didn't score again from the floor until 5 seconds remained in the game. By then, the Cougars had victory well in hand.

Cascade got within 15-14 at halftime, then led 18-17 after three quarters.

At 18-all, the Cougars made the decisive run.

Elle Hoffman scored on a back-door play, then Brianna Hostert drilled a 3-pointer to make it 23-18 with 4:15 to go. The way the game was moving, a five-point lead seemed like 15.

"I caught it in rhythm and shot it," Hostert said. "I didn't get many open looks, but I got one there, so I thought I'd better shoot it."

The Cougars wrapped it up from there with free throws. And more defense.

Typical Cascade basketball.

"We found a way," said Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa. "The guts and the heart we showed, it was fantastic."

The 59 combined points were the fewest in a game here since 2009, when Ackley AGWSR edged Springville, 28-27, for the Class 1A championship.

Meyer led the Cougars with nine points -- all from the free throw line. Hostert added seven. Cascade's reserves outscored their Bondurant-Farrar counterparts, 13-0.

Lexi Atzen led the Lady Jays with 12 points.

Bondurant-Farrar finished 5 of 26 (19 percent) from the floor, including 1 of 11 in the second half.

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