SE girls zone in on state berth

BOONE – Years of disappointment for failing to make the state basketball tournament can finally end tonight for the St. Edmond girls.

In a Class 2A, Region 6 final, the sixth-ranked Gaels (21-2 overall) will square off with Des Moines Christian (19-4) for one of eight bids to Des Moines.

Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Boone High School gym.

St. Edmond’s only state appearance to date came in 1978, when it placed fourth.

“We have watched a lot of film on (the Lions), and I think we have a quickness advantage,” St. Edmond head coach Scott Messerly said. “We want to play the way we normally do, which is get out and run the court.

“It doesn’t seem like they have a whole lot of depth, so hopefully we can wear them down a little bit as the game goes on. Our girls are healthy now and ready for this challenge.”

During its current tournament run, the three-time defending North Central Conference champion Gaels earned dominant victories over South Hamilton (79-23) and West Marshall (72-32). Senior Alli Huss (19.3) and juniors Anna Yung (18.7) and Jaci Stumpf (11.3) form a reliable offensive trio for the green and white, who have won 11 of their past 12 games.

Huss ranks ninth among all 2A players in both total points (445) and total rebounds (238), while Stumpf leads the state in assists (200). Huss has netted 984 points in her career.

All but one SEHS triumph this season has come by double figures – a 58-53 win over then-No. 2 (Class 3A)?Clear Lake on Jan. 31. Defensively, St. Edmond allows just 39.1 points per contest.

“I think we’ve really bothered teams with our press,” said Messerly. “Not only do we have good starters, but we also have a solid bench that we can count on if we get in any kind of foul trouble.”

Since dropping a lopsided 64-39 home decision against 10th-rated (2A) Panorama back on Jan. 14, the Lions have reeled off 10 consecutive wins. West Central Conference co-champion Des Moines Christian recently eliminated Woodward-Granger (45-39) and Van Meter (41-38) in postseason play.

Junior Elsa Anderson (15.6), classmate Brittany Zimmer (11.4) and sophomore Ebby Prewitt (11.3) anchor the balanced scoring attack for Des Moines Christian.

The Lions suffered their other three setbacks against teams all ranked in the final IGHSAU polls of the season – No. 8 (3A) Bondurant-Farrar (47-45), No. 11 (4A) Perry (56-42) and No. 1 (2A) and two-time reigning state champion Western Christian (73-58).

“I’m not sure how strong the (West Central Conference) is overall (where Des Moines Christian plays),” Messerly said. “I know (the Lions)?have a couple of big girls (the 6-foot-0 Anderson and 5-foot-10 senior Sara Juhl) that move pretty well. Their point guard (Zimmer) looks pretty strong and can score the ball, too.”

State action is set for March 3-8 inside Wells Fargo Arena.