Cougars pull off upset

JEWELL – No. 15 Manson Northwest Webster is headed back to the girls state basketball tournament after knocking off eighth-ranked Dike-New Hartford in a Class 2A, Region 2 final Monday night, 45-37.

Sophomore Faith Troshynski tallied 17 points and six rebounds for the Cougars (20-4 overall), while senior Jocelyn Keller added 12 points and eight boards.

After trailing 19-12 entering the second quarter, Manson Northwest Webster outscored the Wolverines 33-18 the rest of the way. With their fourth straight victory, the Cougars snapped Dike-New Hartford’s 10-game winning streak.

“We were kind of shaky defensively in the first quarter, which had us a little concerned,” MNW head coach Bret Larson said. “The big key for us was rebounding. Jocelyn guarded the 6-foot-4 girl (Wisconsin volleyball recruit Brooke Morgan) and didn’t have a single foul. We were able to get contributions from a lot of different people. Our freshmen, sophomores and seniors have been really huge for us.”

Lizzy Blough led the way for the Wolverines (20-3) with 12 points, while Morgan, Olivia Verhulst and Ashley Dumler each chipped in six.

Manson Northwest Webster will now face unbeaten and No. 2 Cascade (25-0) in a 2A state quarterfinal on Monday. Tip is set for 5 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

This year’s state appearance will be the ninth in school history for the Cougars, including the fifth in the past eight years. Since losing all-state guard and University of Northern Iowa signee Ellie Herzberg (elbow injury) back on Jan. 3, Manson Northwest Webster has still managed a 13-3 record.

“Our girls have adjusted really well,” said Larson. “The thing we stressed when (Herzberg’s injury) happened was we needed to have multiple players step up in big games. We’ve just worked extremely hard to make (qualifying for state) a reality. We put in a ton of time in the summer, and I’m glad to see it pay off. It’s exciting to be down (in Des Moines).”