VILLISCA, Iowa — Their days are numbered, not only the Villisca seniors’ but the girls basketball program into which they’ve poured their blood, sweat and tears for four years.
Next year, Villisca and Corning will enter into a five-year, whole-grade sharing agreement and be known as the Southwest Valley Timberwolves.
This year, the Bluejays desperately want to go out in style. And Tuesday night represented a significant step in that direction.
State Class 1-A No. 11 Villisca played a near-flawless second half and dispatched No. 9 Stanton 56-38 in a Corner Conference matchup at the Villisca gymnasium.
“I expected to win, but not by 18,” Villisca coach Donna Williams said.
Seniors Amanda Focht, Jill Vanderhoof and Morganne Haer are all four-year starters for Villisca, and BreeAnn Fisher is a three-year starter and four-year varsity contributor.
“It’s definitely our motivation to win,” Haer said. “Since we’ve started for four years and played four years together, we really want to get to the state tournament. On the last year, that would just make it really special.”
The Bluejays (6-0, 3-0), who are fifth in The World-Herald’s latest western Iowa Class 2-A/1-A ratings, turned in a special performance on Senior Night to earn a rare easy victory over the WI No. 8 Viqueens (4-2, 2-1). Villisca played terrific man-to-man defense, especially the speedy 5-foot-6 Haer on Stanton sharpshooter Ragen Anderson and the heady 5-9 Vanderhoof on Stanton all-around standout Carmen Subbert.
Anderson finished with eight points, 10 below her average.
“I told her I didn’t want her setting up for a shot. Make her move for it,” Williams said. “Morganne did a super job on Ragen.”
Subbert had 13, four below her average. She had to work hard for everything she got.
“I knew she drove, and she’s a little bit faster than me,” Vanderhoof said. “I was just trying to move my feet. Amanda was parked in the lane to help out, and she helped a lot.”
The 5-10 Focht turned in a terrific all-around game, with 11 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
“I just try to see the floor and the open girl and get them the ball if I’m covered,” Focht said.
Anderson’s basket to open the third quarter cut the Villisca lead to 27-24. But then the lone junior starter, 5-8 Mikayla Dolch sparked the Bluejays. She scored all 10 of her points and grabbed all four of her rebounds in the stanza. Her most impressive play of the quarter was her lone assist, when she dove headlong for a loose ball near midcourt and tipped it ahead to Haer for a layup to make it a 37-26 game.
Dolch then hit a 12-footer and Vanderhoof followed with a 15-footer for a 41-26 lead. Dolch then buried consecutive 18-footers as the Bluejays ended the third on an 18-4 run and carried a 45-28 lead into the fourth.
“We tried a few different things defensively, but they had all the answers,” Stanton coach Bruce Subbert said. “They looked really good, and I thought we looked really slow.
“They beat us in just about every part of the game.”
Villisca placed four players in double figures. Haer finished with 14 points, five assists and three steals, while Vanderhoof added 12 points and six rebounds to complement Focht’s 11 points and Dolch’s 10. Fisher, not normally a scorer, scored five of her seven in the first quarter against Stanton’s triangle-and-two defense. The Viqueens switched out of that late in the first and went to a conventional 2-3 the rest of the game.
It was Stanton’s worst loss in 25 games dating back to last year. The Viqueens still have four more games before the holiday break, so Bruce Subbert said his team won’t really get to attack its weaknesses until the break.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” Bruce Subbert said. “Up to this point, we hadn’t really played anybody who played us a real tough man-to-man, and that really gave us problems. ... There’s so much that we’ve got to get better at.”
Stanton (4-2, 2-1)...........................12 10 6 10—38
At Villisca (6-0, 3-0)................16 11 18 11—56
S: Sara Sederburg 1-5 3-3 5, Rachel Sorensen 2-3 2-4 6, Carmen Subbert 6-10 1-4 13, Ragen Anderson 3-8 1-1 8, Kara Allen 0-6 0-0 0, Macy Elwood 2-2 0-0 4, Amber Hamilton 1-2 0-0 2, Alix Kammerer 0-0 0-0 0, Kimber Wagg 0-0 0-0 0, Erin DeKay 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 15-40 7-12 38.
V: Morganne Haer 5-10 3-4 14, Jill Vanderhoof 5-9 2-4 12, Mikayla Dolch 4-9 2-4 10, Amanda Focht 4-8 3-6 11, BreeAnn Fisher 3-10 1-1 7, Heather Means 0-2 0-0 0, Alexis Bronner 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Means 0-0 0-0 0, Erin Sorensen 0-0 0-0 0, Jenny King 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 22-51 11-19 56.
3-point goals: S 1-8 (Anderson 1-5, Subbert 0-1, Sederburg 0-2), V 1-5 (Haer 1-4, Means 0-1). Total fouls: S 15, V 12. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. Rebounds: S 31 (Subbert 11), V 31 (Focht 9). Assists: S 5 (Hanilton 2, Allen 2), V 16 (Focht 7). Steals: S 9 (Sederburg 2, Hamilton 2), V 13 (Haer 5). Turnovers: S 16, V 13.
Contact the writer:
402-444-1055, firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/KWhiteOWH