Manson NW loses to Panorama

ROCKWELL CITY – Another successful season ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Manson Northwest Webster girls basketball team Monday night.

With a trip to Wells Fargo Arena on the line, the sixth-ranked Cougars (21-3 overall) dropped a 52-40 decision to No. 7 Panorama in a Class 2A, Region 2 final.

The loss snapped a 15-game winning streak for co-Twin Lakes Conference champion MNW, which was seeking its eighth state tournament bid in program history and fifth since 2007 alone.

“Panorama is a very fundamentally sound team that doesn’t turn the ball over, plays great defense and does a good job of rebounding, which is the three things you always want a basketball team to do,” MNW head coach Bret Larson said. “Hopefully, our girls got a taste of (regional final action) now and want to come back even stronger next year.”

Ellie Herzberg, a University of Northern Iowa recruit, sparked the Cougars with 23 points on 11-for-23 shooting before fouling out in the final minute. The 5-foot-9 junior guard, who came ranked first in 2A and second in the state with a 25.7 point per game average, has now netted 1,337 points in her varsity career.

“Going up against five girls that can score and play defense, we knew (the Panthers) were going to be a tough matchup for Ellie, but she was still able to put up (23 points),” said Larson. “Of all the top players in the state, I wouldn’t trade her for any of those other girls.”

Manson Northwest Webster, which never led in the contest, fired at just a 41.5 percent clip from the field in its lowest offensive output of the year. The Cougars also missed all eight of their longball attempts.

Olivia Godfrey (23) and Cadence Simmons (16) each scored in double figures for Panorama (23-2), which finished 18-for-20 at the free-throw line. Down the stretch, the Panthers tallied 11 of their last 13 points from the charity stripe en route to their fourth straight victory.

Aside from Jordan Schreier, MNW will return its entire roster next season.

“Jordan was a good teammate that stuck (basketball) out for four years,” Larson said. “Next year is still a long way away, but I’m excited for it.”

Making their fifth-ever state appearance and first since 1996, the Panthers will next face Aplington-Parkersburg in a 2A quarterfinal Monday at 6:45 p.m. in Des Moines. The 10th-ranked Falcons (20-3) upset No. 8 West Marshall last night, 57-49.