SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa | West got the jump on defending Missouri River Activities Conference champion Sergeant Bluff-Luton edging the Warriors 60-54 in a league girls basketball opener for each team Monday evening.
Post players Hallie Dicus and Andrea Vazquez combined to score 29 points as the Wolverines hung on late after leading 31-26 at the half.
Dicus had a game-high 17 points, nine coming in the fourth quarter, while Vazquez had 12.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton, which has had limited practice time after advancing to the Class 4A volleyball state championship game, got 15 points from Anna Lucas, its lone starter who didn't play on the volleyball squad this fall.
The Warriors rallied after intermission to score the first six points and take a 33-31 lead. Lucas hit a pair of shots to pull SB-L within one and Kylee Christensen converted a conventional three-point-play to give her team a 33-31 lead.
Vazquez halted the run with a shot to tie the game and the Wolverines were back up 45-41 going into the fourth quarter when Hope Wagner pushed in a rebound shot just before the end of the frame.
"The first half was a little rough for us as a team," said Dicus, one of four seniors on the West squad. "In the second half we really picked it up on the defensive end, that's what got us going."
Dicus has a new role on the defensive press for Coach Betsy Boetger's squad, playing up on the press and a spot she prefers.
"It's a challenge for me," said Dicus. "I have to focus on being quicker."
Carly Knudson-Kobold just missed a double-double for West, pulling down a team-high 13 rebounds to go with nine points.
Both teams battled with fouls throughout the night, with SB-L losing Abby Wisecup, its leading scorer from a year ago, and Lucas.
"It's a typical first game," said SB-L coach Miranda Riediger. "I thought the girls did a real nice job of coming out at the start of the second half and executing the things the we talked about.
"It was hard to bounce back from the early foul trouble. There are a lot of areas that we can work on to get better."
The teams split their games last year, with each winning on the other's home court. SB-L finished 10-2 in MRAC play to win the title last winter, ending up a game up on both West and Bishop Heelan.
"Our girls stepped up tonight and took on some new roles tonight," said Boetger. "We worked well together and were comfortable when the clock ticks down and taking care of the ball.
"We capitalized well on the inside and really got our whole team into the game and cheering on the bench."
West, which entered the game with an 84-41 win over Lawton-Bronson last Tuesday, is back in action hosting Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln on Thursday while the Warriors are back in action Tuesday with a home game with Woodbury Central.