In the round two regional playoffs the STC Trojans came out of the gate with a game plan that sent the Stormin' Pointers into a tailspin. Despite some tough defense and a game that remained close through 3 quarters, CPU narrowly escaped with a 54-43 win.
South Tama travelled to Center Point-Urbana High School for the second round of regional girls basketball on Wednesday, February 15.
The two teams were no strangers to one another. They met twice before in WaMaC west conference play. The first meeting in December went to the Pointers by way of a 30 point victory The second meet up was a tad better as the Trojans fell 72-49. Wednesday's matchup the Trojans came out and surprised the Pointers leading throughout the first quarter of play 11-9.
South Tama senior Kaitlin Berger drives to the hoop in the Trojans Regional Round 2 matchup with Center Point Urbana on Wednesday, February 15. The Trojans fell 54-43.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham
By halftime the Pointers had caught up and taken a 22-17 lead. CPU climbed back into the game after putting on a stingy defensive press in the second quarter that gave the Trojans fits. The switch up in defense was a struggle for the Trojans but they still managed to hang with the Class 3A No. 3 ranked team.
Down by 10 in the third quarter, STC's leading scorer Jessica Musgrave scored on a breakaway layup that cut the deficit to just two, 37-35. CPU called a timeout after the Trojans forced a turnover and the momentum shifted in the Trojans favor.
The Pointers however, asserted themselves with Allison Woolridge dominating down low and finishing with 20 points, well above her average. Musgrave led the Trojans with 15 points.
There was quite a bit of emotion on the court following the game. Of course there was sadness due to the season ending loss but there was also a sense of pride as the Trojans surpassed some expectations and gave a very talented team all they could handle. "It's always emotional when you go [to the locker room]," STC Head Coach Sarah Mallen said. "But it's either a sad or joyful. And when I walked in there, it was almost as if there was joy because they knew they gave it their all. There were no 'what if' questions. They knew they played to the best of their ability and it still didn't turn out their way. There's just nothing else we can do."
Senior Kaitlin Berger did an excellent job keeping Woolridge in check especially in the first half. Berger did so even playing on a tweaked ankle. But nothing was going to keep her from that game.
"I'm having really mixed emotions right now," said Berger, "It sucks that we have to end on a loss but I would take that loss over anything. We played our hearts out. I'm still like heartbroken because this is my last game of high school.
"We by 30 the first time and we lost by 20-some the second time and then we lost by 11 here. Each time we knew we had to go at them strong. We know they are good. We focused on three things valuing the ball, boxing out and help defense because we knew they were good three point shooters. We had to stop the drive too especially with Allison playing in there. I?just think each time we had more heart to win," said Berger.
For Mallen, she can look back at what was a successful season despite the wins or losses. Mallen said this year's group of players made her job "so easy", calling the team a coachable and attentive group of girls.
"I threw so many challenges at them throughout the course of the season," Mallen said. "They probably ran more than ever for me, but they never complained. They were ready to take every day, every challenge, and do it to their best of their ability. This team plays with so much heart. More than I've ever seen, and I've played a lot of basketball."