Unity Girls Repeat
March 05, 2016
Unity Christian has repeated as the Class 2A Girls Basketball state champion. The Knights avenged their only loss of the season as they defeated Western Christian 42-41 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines Friday night. The Wolfpack had defeated the Knights 59-48 January 16th in Hull as part of a 23 game winning streak.
Unity kept Western in check for much of the 1st quarter holding the Wolfpack to just 6 points in the first 6 minutes as the Knights built what turned into an 18-8 lead three minutes into the second quarter. Unity took a 26-20 lead into halftime. Western started the second half on a 12-4 run that put the Wolfpack in front 32-30, and they led 34-32 after three quarters. The fourth quarter saw five lead changes, and the contest came down to the final second despite Western not making a field goal after a Kaira Moss layup gave the Wolfpack a 36-35 edge with 4:53 remaining. Josie Blankespoor’s jumper with 2:00 to go put Unity on top for good at 41-40. After Chanda Zomermaand went 1 for 2 at the line for Unity with 29 seconds remaining, Western took a timeout with 15 seconds to play to set up a final shot. Ashtyn Veerbeek’s shot missed with 10 seconds to go, but she got her own rebound and then was fouled with 6 seconds on the clock. Veerbeek hit the first charity shot but missed the second one. After Blankespoor hauled in the rebound for Unity, Western’s Erika Feenstra tied her up with 4 seconds to go. Western had the possession arrow and with it, one final chance to win the game. After a shot from Feenstra missed, the Wolfpack couldn’t got off another one before the buzzer.
Anna Kiel paced Unity with 13 points and 15 more rebounds. She ended up with a state tournament record 53 boards. The old mark was 50 by Exira’s Hallie Christofferson in 2010. Diedra Noteboom chipped in 10 for the Knights who finished the season 25-1. Western, which closed out at 24-3, was led by Veerbeek with 13 points and 9 rebounds.
Kiel was named captain of the 2A All-Tournament Team. Zomermaand also made the squad for Unity as did Western’s Veerbeek and Moss. Okoboji’s Emily Wintz and Mary Crompton from Iowa City Regina rounded out the team.
Unity’s back-to-back state championships come on the heels of Western winning three straight 2A crowns from 2012-2014.
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