Gaels clinch share of NCC title
IOWA FALLS – For the third consecutive year, the third-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond girls can call themselves North Central Conference champions.
The Gaels completed a season sweep over Iowa Falls-Alden here Friday night, 61-23, finishing the regular season with a 17-1 league mark.
No. 3 (3A) Clear Lake also has just one conference loss – to St. Edmond last week – and still has two more NCC games left to play next week.
Alli Huss led a balanced Gael attack with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Anna Yung contributed 16 and seven assists.
Clare Flattery grabbed eight rebounds, Madeline Baldwin seven and Jaci Stumpf had six assists. Brigid Hanley also helped distribute the ball, passing out four assists.
“We played a lot of girls and got a lot of good, quality minutes from all of them,” SEHS head coach Scott Messerly said. “I’m pretty luck. I have two good assistant coaches in Roxanne Kuhlman and Alex Nagel, and a group of girls that were brought up right in the game of basketball.
“I just have to make a tweak here or there; I’ve been very fortunate.”
St. Edmond had little trouble with the Cadets, jumping out to a 20-4 advantage after the first quarter. They led by 23 at halftime and were up 50-17 heading into the fourth.
After a 66-56 loss to Clear Lake in January, Messerly and his squad knew they had to be perfect the rest of the way if they wanted to claim at least a share of the NCC title.
Since that loss, the Gaels earned double-digit conference wins in all but their rematch with the Lions. St. Edmond won that game, 58-53 inside its own gym.
“I’m proud of these girls,” Messerly said. “To go 17-1 in this conference is very impressive.
“Now, we have to go into the postseason and win three straight.”
Over the past three years, the Gaels have gone 51-3 in the NCC. They were 18-0 in 2011-12 and went 16-2 a year ago, finishing tied with Hampton-Dumont atop the standings.
During that same time frame, St. Edmond has amassed an overall record of 58-7.
The Gaels are now off until Feb. 18 when they host either South Hamilton or Madrid when they open up regional play.