DES MOINES – Springville’s fantastic senior class went out in style here Saturday, claiming its third straight Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament Class 1A championship with a 60-49 conquest of Newell-Fonda.
The top-ranked Orioles became the first since Hull Western Christian (2012-14) to win three consecutive titles, taking advantage of a stifling zone defense to hand Newell-Fonda its first loss of the season.
Mikayla Nachazel scored 25 points and snared 11 rebounds and was named captain of the 1A all-tournament team for the third consecutive season.
Springville’s senior trio of Nachazel, Rylee Menster and Madi Wagaman played in four straight state championship games. Newell-Fonda beat the Orioles in the 2015 final, preventing Springville from matching Ankeny (2002-05) in winning four straight state crowns.
“We have a great group of seniors and I’m so grateful to have played with these guys for four years and with Riley and I going on to college we really look forward to continue to play with each other at the next level,” Nachazel said.
Nachazel and Menster will each play at NCAA Division II Minnesota State.
Newell-Fonda (26-1) couldn’t solve the Orioles’ air-tight defense, scoring its lowest point total of the season. The previous low was 53 in a game against Emmetsburg late in the regular season.
And, it didn’t help matters that Olivia Larsen, the Mustangs’ standout junior guard, picked up her second foul two minutes into the game and played only five minutes in the first half.
“I thought early on we were shooting tough, contested shots,” Newell-Fonda Coach Dick Jungers said. “Springville is so long and lanky and play such great defense. Once we started attacking we got some things going our way, but they just always had an answer for our runs.
“They made some great moves inside and created some nice buckets and hit some timely 3-pointers. Whenever we made a good run they just seemed to have an answer.”
Springville led 12-10 after one quarter and opened up a 25-15 lead with 2:34 left in the first half. Newell-Fonda, though, scored the last five points of the half, cutting it to five at intermission.
Freshman Ella Larsen took a feed from older sister Olivia and scored inside to start the second half, then made a steal and layup, pulling the Mustangs within 25-24. A 7-2 run by Springville pushed it back to a six-point advantage and by the time the third quarter ended it was 41-32.
The Orioles sandwiched a Nachazel three around buckets by Menster and Jaeger and were comfortably in front, 48-34, three minutes into the final stanza.
“Even down the stretch when we were down 12-14, our girls got a few quick steals and momentum was going, but then they made that next big play and kind of held us at bay,” Jungers said. “I was very proud of our effort to just keep fighting.”
Megan Morenz led Newell-Fonda with 12 points and Olivia Larsen had 11. Each were named to the 1A all-tournament team.
“It was pretty tough sitting out early with the fouls,” Larsen said. “My freshman year I was pretty bad at fouling. Today I was kind of mad because I felt that some of them weren’t consistent, but I can’t control that.
“We got too far out by the half-court line and weren’t moving as fast as we should have been. I’m going to miss Jenna Coppock (only senior on the N-F team) dearly because she was such a great 3-point shooters but we’ve got some awesome eighth graders coming up and I can’t wait to see what next season holds.”
Newell-Fonda was playing in its ninth state tournament under Jungers, in his 16th season at the helm.