by Steve Peterson
Akron-Westfield girls’ basketball team led or tied Gehlen Catholic for three quarters of the Class 1A regional playoff game Feb. 12 in Le Mars.
Gehlen Catholic, which trailed 24-19 in the third quarter, rallied for a 31-26 win to eliminate the Lady Westerners from the playoffs.
Kayla Tindall scored nine points to lead the way for A-W.
Seniors Katelyn Langel tallied 15 and Abigail Krienert had nine to lead the Lady Jays. Langel also had six rebounds and three steals.
“It was a great effort. They did what we asked them to do on defense. We had seven or eight shots underneath the basket in the fourth quarter but just could not get them to go in the hole,” said A-W Coach Kent Johnson.
The Lady Jays moved on to the regional semifinals Feb. 15 with a 15-6 overall record while the Lady Westerners ended the season 8-15.
“We have most of our team coming back next season so we should be strong,” said Johnson.
Junior Sarah Schroeder scored five points and junior Dana Hedlund added four.
Schroeder led the Lady Westerners with seven rebounds and Tindall had six.
A-W made 11-of-38 all field goal tries and missed all five three-point shots.
A basket by Schroeder put the A-W squad ahead 13-5 early, and the Lady Jays were struggling on offense. A series of A-W turnovers let the home team back into the game, and it was 13-7 after one quarter. A-W scored only two points in the second quarter but still led 15-11 at halftime.
A-W had a few five-point leads, including 19-14 on a Tindall hoop with 4:30 left in the third period. Gehlen Catholic, using its tenacious defense again, gained a 19-19 tie. Kortney Hedlund’s lay-up gave A-W a 21-19 lead and Tindall hit a three-point play for a 24-19 lead with five seconds left in the third quarter. An outside jumper by Krienert made it a three-point lead, 24-21.
The Lady Jays then dominated the rest of the way, on a 10-2 run to finish the game, 12-5 for the fourth quarter. A basket by Tindall made it 28-26 Gehlen Catholic. The Lady Westerners had a few chances for a tie score but could not convert.
Gehlen Catholic’s squad used its superior athleticism – the same players that qualified for state in volleyball, softball and track, to pull away.
AW 6-9-6- 5-26
All field goals for two points.
Kortney Hedlund: 2 points, 1-of-5 all field goal attempts twos and threes, 0-of-2 three-point field goal attempts, 0-of-1 free throw attempts, 1 rebound, 1 assist.
Jordan Hansen: 2 points, 1-of-2 all field goal attempts, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal.
Dana Hedlund: 4 points, 2-of-7 all field goal attempts, 0-of-1 three-point field goal attempt, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals.
Schroeder: 5 points, 2-of-5 all field goal attempts, 1-of-2 free throw attempts, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocked shots.
Haley Coyle: 2 points, 1-of-8 all field goal attempts, 0-of-2 three-point field goal attempts, 3 rebounds, 2 assists.
Bethany Eastman: 2 points, 1-of-2 all field goal attempts, 3 rebounds, 1 steal.
Tindall: 9 points, 3-of-8 all field goal attempts, 3-of-5 free throw attempts, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals.
Cali Westergard: 0-of-1 all field goal attempt.
Team: 26 points, 11-of-38 all field goal attempts, 0-of-5 three-point field goal attempts only, 4-of-8 free throw attempts, 26 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 steals, 2 blocked shots.