Cougars fall to Cascade

DES MOINES – Any chance of a potential upset slipped away early for the Manson Northwest Webster girls basketball team here Monday night.

Unable to get on track offensively, the 15th-ranked Cougars (20-5) dropped a 43-21 decision to No. 2 Cascade (26-0) in a Class 2A state quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We didn’t shoot the ball the way we’re capable of shooting it, but (Cascade) deserves a lot of credit for that, too,” MNW head coach Bret Larson said. “They were really aggressive defensively. Every time we reversed the ball, they were so quick to cover it up. They aren’t the biggest team, but they sure make up for it with their overall quickness.”

Faith Troshynski, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, anchored the Cougars with eight points. Classmate Brenna Peters grabbed nine rebounds, while senior Jocelyn Keller notched eight boards and two blocks.

As a collective unit, Manson Northwest Webster was held to just 19.4 percent (7-for-36) shooting from the field in its lowest scoring output of the season. For a 17th consecutive game, MNW was without the services of all-state guard and University of Northern Iowa signee Ellie Herzberg (elbow injury).

“To lose a girl like Ellie, who might be the best player in the state, and still get down to Des Moines says a lot about the character of our girls,” said Larson. “They just wouldn’t settle for anything less.”

After surrendering a 15-0 burst to start the contest, MNW finally broke the ice on a Hunter Jud free throw with 27 seconds left in the opening quarter. Troshynski’s 3-pointer less than two minutes later ended a costly 0-for-10 drought from the field for the Cougars, which also coincided with seven turnovers.

“It was just a different atmosphere playing in a gym that was so big,” Keller said of Wells Fargo Arena. “It was very hard to get used to.”

Still within relative striking distance at the break (24-10), Manson Northwest Webster failed to slice the deficit under double figures the rest of the way. Despite going 0 of 4 outside the arc, Cascade held a commanding 30-6 advantage on points in the paint. Last year’ s 3A state semifinalist Cougars, who came in allowing only 31.2 points a night, remain the lone unbeaten in the 2A field.

“I thought our start to the game was excellent, and we came out aggressive and set the tone,” said CHS head coach Mike Sconsa. “The biggest thing was defensively we didn’t give up anything easy. Our kids rose to the challenge (Monday).”

Herzberg, Keller and Jud were the three seniors on Manson Northwest Webster’s roster. Over the past four years, the Cougars compiled an 80-16 record. Herzberg wrapped up her standout career with 1,542 points.

“This (state quarterfinal game) was the best experience I could ever get,” Jud said. “I’ve been waiting for this since I was a little kid.”

MNW, which was making its ninth state appearance in school history, was previously a 2A state runner-up in 2010 and a state semifinalist in both ’08 and ’09 under then-head coach and current assistant Wade Wubben. With yesterday’s loss the Cougars, saw their four-game winning streak halted.

“We have a lot of motivation now to try and get back down (to state) next year,” said Troshynski.

Abbey Meyer, a senior, tallied 14 points and three assists for the River Valley Conference champion Cougars, who were a 2A state runner-up in 2009. Junior Carolyn Trumm added 11 points and eight rebounds.

No. 4 Hudson (24-1) now awaits Cascade in a 2A semifinal here Thursday at 11:45 a.m. The Pirates advanced with an 84-75 victory over 14th-ranked Woodbury Central.