Girls State Basketball: Newell-Fonda Finds Early Fire, Rolls Marquette
By Grant Burkhardt, Reporter
This game was broadcast live on KCRG 9.2, as every game of the boys and girls state basketball tournaments will be.
DES MOINES, Iowa - With 44.9 seconds left in her career, Bellevue Marquette senior Sarah Lampe left the court at Wells Fargo Arena to chants of "We Are...Mohawks!"
She was already red-faced from physical exertion, anguish, getting hit upside the head, or a combination of the three.
After embracing her coach, Lampe crouched low, covered her ears to block the supporters' noise and dug her flushed face into the folding bench chair, the cushion of which was red like the trim of her loosely tucked jersey and her opponent's shooting hands.
Just moments before Lampe and the Mohawks' four seniors exited, the Newell-Fonda player with the hottest hands fluttered past two Marquette defenders and dished to a teammate, only to have the teammate miss the shot. No worries though, Renee Maneman had done enough damage for one night.
Maneman hit five 3-pointers, including three triples in the opening 2:23, to lead the second-ranked Mustangs to the 1A championship game with a convincing 69-52 win over Marquette on Wednesday night.
Marquette's only lead was at 2-0, and within seconds the Mohawks were down double-digits.
"Obviously it kills your momentum a little bit," said Lampe, who scored seven points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished six assists in 31 minutes. "But it definitely didn't make us give up. We still wanted it just as bad, and we fought and fought until the very end, and that's all we could do."
Newell-Fonda (24-2) made four 3s in that first spurt (Tailer Schrank's only make of the game sandwiched in with Maneman's) and shot 50.9 percent from the field in the game.
Maneman led the way with 21 points (5 of 9 from 3-point range). She distributed seven assists and added four steals. Afterward, she high-stepped down the locker-room hallway, eager to get her media session finished so she and her teammates could turn their attention to Friday's final. Newell-Fonda will face either Burlington-Notre Dame or Central Lyon at 4 p.m.
The Mustangs have never won a state title, and last played in the championship game in 2008, when Maneman was a 7th-grader.
"Us girls have never been here before," Maneman said. "We're hoping we can get this done."
"It's a fantastic feeling," Newell-Fonda head coach Dick Jungers said. "Their effort and intensity was phenomenal."
The intensity of the game climaxed in an unintentional collision between Lampe and Newell-Fonda's Brianna Wells, which left Lampe face down on the court. Wells was called for the foul, and while the clash looked nasty in real-time, the Marquette senior popped straight up.
"She just kind of punched me in the face," Lampe said, laughing. "I wanted to play. I wanted to show the team that we don't give up no matter what."
The Mustangs simply made too many shots for Marquette (17-7) to ever really make a run. The Mohawks never got the deficit below 11 in the second half and turned the ball over 22 times.
"They were making everything they were throwing up," Marquette head coach Jim Kettmann said. "They shot really well tonight. I think they just had way too much firepower."
If you've been to this week's state tournament (or watched it live on KCRG 9.2), you've seen that every losing team is honored after the game for being a state qualifier. A IGHSAU staff member gave Lampe the trophy, and the senior – still blushed in the face – cracked a smile as she turned to show off the hardware to the Mohawk faithful.
"I'm definitely happy," Lampe added. "Our first district game...we almost lost that game. At the beginning of the season, no one thought Marquette Catholic would be in the semifinals at state. We showed a lot of people wrong, and we have to hold our heads up about that.