STORM LAKE - It was a choppy, foul-filled contest between LeMars and Storm Lake Wednesday night, but it played into the Storm Lake girls' hands as they advanced to Saturday night's semifinal over LeMars, 54-43.
In all, 55 free-throws were taken and three players fouled out in the quarterfinal matchup that saw the Tornadoes defeat the Bulldogs for the third time this year.
Storm Lake was only able to convert on 15 of 30 free throw attempts, but LeMars failed to take advantage at the line as well, making just 13 of 25 of their foul shots.
The first half of play was neck and neck with Storm Lake holding a 21-20 advantage with under two minutes to play.
Junior guard Slone Masters was able to knock down a pair of free-throws and come up with a steal and layup on the ensuing possession to give the Tornadoes some breathing room heading into the half, 25-20.
A 4-0 run saw the SL lead grow to 30-23 with 6:30 left in the third when the Bulldogs staged their comeback attempt.
A three pointer by Emily Anderson capped off a 7-3 LeMars run, pushing the score to 33-30 with under five minutes to play.
However, that was as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way. LeMars struggled to convert at the foul line in the second half, and Storm Lake absolutely dominated the defensive glass, negating any second chance opportunities for the majority of the night.
An inside bucket by Cassie Meylor pushed the SL lead to a comfortable 47-35 with 3:15 left in the fourth, and the squads would swap free-throw attempts until the final buzzer.
Masters led all scorers Wednesday night, netting 17 points as the Bulldogs couldn't find an answer for the junior guard off the dribble. Meylor was just as effective down low, scoring 14.
Freshman Carissa Brown nailed a pair of first quarter threes on her way to a 10-point night. Katie Blum finished with six and Morgan VanDerSloot four.
Emily Anderson led the LeMars (7-15) attack with 12 points on the night. Erica Westhoff added seven.
Storm Lake (16-5) is back on their home court for Saturday's regional semifinal when they host #7 Sioux City Bishop Heelan (17-4).
The Crusaders are the defending champions in Class 3A and made easy work of MOC-Floyd Valley Wednesday, 68-51. Tip-off in Storm Lake is set for 7PM.