Newell-Fonda back in title round

DES MOINES – The Newell-Fonda girls basketball team is back on the championship doorstep.

The second-ranked Mustangs eliminated No. 13 Bellevue Marquette by a 69-52 count here Wednesday night inside Wells Fargo Arena in a Class 1A state semifinal, advancing to the title round for the fourth time in program history.

Junior Renee Maneman scored 21 points for Newell-Fonda (24-2 overall), which will now take on either fifth-rated Burlington Notre Dame (22-3) or No. 1 Central Lyon (24-2) for the 1A crown here Friday at 4 p.m. That semifinal is on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

Senior Andrea Christensen added 16 points and junior Claudia Larsen chipped in 10 for the Mustangs, who are at state for the fourth time since 2008 under head coach Dick Jungers.

Newell-Fonda also reached the finals in softball under Jungers in 2008, ’09 and ’10, capturing gold the first time around.

”This is a fantastic feeling,” Jungers said. ”The way the girls got after it … their effort was phenomenal.

”This is just another great win over a very good opponent.”

The Mustangs were off and running early, swishing four baskets from beyond the arc – including three by Maneman – in the opening two-plus minutes. A Christensen layup made it 15-6 at the 2:25 mark of the first quarter.

Newell-Fonda led by as many as 22 points midway through the fourth quarter over Marquette (17-7), which was in the field for the second time in three years. The Mustangs held a double-digit lead for the final 18 minutes of the contest.

Maneman tallied seven assists and four steals to pad her statline. Reserves Jordan Wilken and Marianna Overgaard each pulled down a team-high five rebounds.

”We’ve been here before,” Maneman said. ”We’re hoping we can get it done this time around.”

Newell-Fonda had 18 assists on its 29 field goals.

Kelsey Tebbe had 17 points for Marquette.

Jungers is now 227-49 in 11 seasons with the basketball program. The Mustangs were co-Twin Lakes Conference champions with Manson Northwest Webster this winter.

Newell-Fonda also advanced to the championship round in 1997, 2000 and ’08. Jungers has guided the Mustangs to Rogers Park and state softball six times since 2005.