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Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015

Lady Mustangs two games from state

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Two down, two to go for the Newell-Fonda High girls basketball team.

After winning a share of the Northwest Conference title with Sac City and finishing the regular season 19-2, the Lady Mustangs are on a roll going into their Class 1A, Region 1 semifinal game with Sentral-Fenton Tuesday night in Laurens.

"We've been playing solid team basketball during the tournament so far," said Mustangs coach Dick Jungers.

Newell-Fonda has also been scoring in big numbers, and hitting lots of three-point shots.

In the tourney opener, an 82-54 win over Corn Belt Conference foe West Bend Mallard, the Mustangs hit nine three pointers. In an impressive 95-52 win over Laurens-Marathon Saturday night, N-F (21-2) knocked down double digits in threes - 11 to be exact.

"And we're a team that averages over 20 assists per game," said Jungers. "We're scoring a lot of points because we're finding the open player and our kids are very unselfish."

And talented. The Mustangs are outscoring their opponents by an average of 74-45 this season, and five players averaging eight points or more.

"The way we're playing now, we are very tough to guard," said Jungers. "We just want to keep it up and take care of business."

Meanwhile, Tuesday night's opponent, Sentral-Fenton, is an an upswing as well. The Lady Spartans were 22-2 last season but lost big to graduation.

The returned a young team under coach Dr. Merle Tigges and struggled early, starting the season 0-6. But they've gone 11-6 since the, including three tournament wins. They opened district play with an 85-37 win over Corwith-Wesley-Luvurne, a 32-27 win over Armstrong-Ringsted and a 47-45 win over North Iowa of Buffalo Center last Saturday night.

"We've had an up and down season," Tigges said Sunday night. "We play good defense and we're very aggressive, but at times, we turn the ball over too much. That goes with being a young team.

"We might not matchup well in size with Newell-Fonda, but if we're hitting our shots and playing like we did against North Iowa, I think we can give them a heckuva game."

But the Lady Spartans will probably have to score more points than they have thus far in tournaments, especially if the Mustangs keep knocking down perimeter shots.

If they aren't, they can go to leading scorer, six-foot junior post player Jennifer Schuman. She's averaging 17 points per game this season.

Power-forward Andrea Larsen, a 5-foot-10 senior, averages nine points per game while shooting forward Katie Wells averages 11 points.

The Mustangs' attack also features some capable guard scorers. Point guard Ashley Loos averages 13 points per game and directs the offense well. Guard Kristen Culp is averaging eight points per game.

But a key, Jungers said, is playing the tempo his team likes.

"We want to get up and down the floor, and if we're able to do that, we should be OK," Jungers said. "But Sentral Fenton is a very well-coached team. Anything can happen in tournaments, and that's especially true if you're playing a well-coached team."

According to Jungers, Sentral-Fenton plays an aggressive style.

"They really get after you and can cause a lot of turnovers," he said. "I don't think they have an awful lot of depth, but I still think they we can expect to see a full-court, man-to-man press at times and a halfcourt, zone press as well. They mix up their defenses well."

The only common opponents to two teams have is West Bend Mallard. Sentral-Fenton, also a Corn Belt Conference team, beat West Bend Mallard twice this season, both times by eight to ten points, Tigges said.

Three players average either in double figures or close to them for Sentral Fenton, Tigges said.

Five-foot-8 forward Morgan Meyers leads the way with an 11 points-per-game average. In addition, Jessie Heyes, a 5-11 guard, averages 10.5 ppg. and 5-10 forward Anna Lampe averages nine ppg.

"From the game film, it seems teams haven't been aggressive enough (in tournaments so far) with Newell-Fonda," Tigges said. "So our plan is to attack them both offensively and defensively.

"A key for us is making good decisions offensively and we hope we're knocking down our shots," he said. "But it's going to have to take a great effort by our kids. To play right with a team the caliber of Newell-Fonda for four full quarters isn't an easy thing to do."

If the Mustangs win Tuesday night, they will meet the winner of Tuesday' night's game between Rock Valley and Clay Central-Everly. That Region I championship game would be played Saturday night in Spencer, starting at 6 p.m.

Jungers added that either team would be difficult to face.

"It's pretty much tossup," Jungers said. "I would expect Rock Valley to win, but Clay Central Everly is very athletic and tough."

But Jungers knows it's too early to look ahead.

"The way we're playing now, we might be tough to stop," he said. "Our key is just to keep playing as well as we have been. And it would be nice of we could keep making our three-point shots."



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