Girls State Basketball: Waverly-Shell Rock Cruises To 4A Semis

By Rob Gray and John Campbell, Reporters


By Grant Burkhardt

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

DES MOINES, Iowa — Waverly-Shell Rock found kindling for a rout at an unlikely spot: The 3-point line.

The interior-focused and second-ranked Go-Hawks drained four long-range baskets in the first quarter, setting the stage for Tuesday’s 67-45 Class 4A state girls’ basketball quarterfinal win over overmatched Winterset at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We have the go to shoot whenever we feel we need to, obviously,” said forward Naomi Phillips, who hit 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Key word: Need.

Outside shooting is rarely required for Waverly-Shell Rock (22-2), which entered the game leading all classes in field goal percentage at 49.6.

It went up against the Huskies (18-6), who managed a 12-0 second-half run, but trailed by double digits the final 27 minutes of the game.

The Go-Hawks sank 54.3 percent of their shots from the field and outrebounded Winterset 31-17 in their first state tournament game since 1986.

“We were concerned about how our kids would respond,” Waverly-Shell Rock coach Greg Bodensteiner said. “We thought we had things going in the right direction when we got here, just with their focus. We’ve got a lot of kids with a lot of experience playing in state tournaments in other sports and we thought that was going to help us out. Can’t say much about the start we got off to other than it was awesome.”

The Go-Hawks led 36-17 at halftime and “needed” just one three after the Phillips-fueled hot start from the perimeter.

“Naomi’s always awesome at hitting threes,” said post Aftin Phyfe, who notched a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) and helped build a 12-3 edge on the offensive glass.

Morgan Neuendorf added 10 points and two 3-pointers.

Mattie Gray dished out a game-high seven assists.

The Go-Hawks will face Harlan (22-2) in Thursday’s 6:45 p.m. semifinal.

“We all came in here with the mindset that we weren’t going to just settle for just getting to state,” Phillips said. “And we plan on continuing on.”

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