MALVERN, Iowa — Donna Williams climbed the ladder and snipped away the final chapter to Villisca’s participation in the Corner Conference girls basketball tournament.

The Bluejay coach raised her arms triumphantly to the crowd and soon the chants reached a fever pitch: “F-A-B! F-A-B! F-A-B!”

For those of you not from Villisca, that’s Forever A Bluejay.

The Bluejays exited in grand fashion Friday, beating Stanton in every facet for a 45-32 victory in the championship game before a near-capacity crowd at East Mills High School. It was their first conference tournament title since 1997.

Villisca will join forces with Corning next fall, become the Southwest Valley Timberwolves and compete in the Pride of Iowa Conference.

“We’ve thought about it all week,” senior Jill Vanderhoof said. “After beating Nishnabotna (in overtime) on Wednesday, I think that hit us. That second chance. It gave us life.”

Given a clean slate Friday, the Bluejays loosened up and cut it loose. Their swarming man-to-man defense limited a Stanton team that shot 53.1 percent from the field — including 61.5 percent from 3-point range — in the semifinals to 18.5 percent (10 of 54).

“I think we came out a little bit more relaxed tonight, a little more determined that we could do it,” Williams said. “Didn’t play scared.”

Villisca, rated 10th in western Iowa (Class 2-A/1-A) by The World-Herald, improved to 13-3. After starting 7-0, the Bluejays dropped three straight but have now won six in a row.

“We are getting it back together,” Vanderhoof said. “I think over Christmas break we stopped thinking so much. I think that’s what our problem was. We’re just starting to click a lot better again.”

Tied 11-11 after the first quarter, Villisca held Stanton (10-5) to 1-of-14 shooting in the second. That allowed the Bluejays to grab a 24-15 halftime lead.

The 5-foot-9 Vanderhoof held Stanton leading scorer Carmen Subbert (16.9 ppg) to 12 on 2 of 12 from the field. Fiesty 5-7 senior Morganne Haer held sharpshooter Ragen Anderson (15.6 ppg) scoreless on nine field-goal attempts. In the semifinal win over Fremont-Mills, Anderson made 6 of 9 3s and scored 20 points.

“We wanted to get them tired, and we wanted to have them move to get the shot, move to get the ball,” Williams said.

Stanton drew within 29-23 through three quarters after Subbert’s steal and basket. But BreeAnn Fisher buried a 17-footer to start the fourth for Villisca, and Haer followed with a 3 to make it 34-23 with 7:05 left. The Viqueens got no closer than nine the rest of the way.

Stanton played a triangle-and-two for most of the night, shadowing Haer and Vanderhoof. It was reasonably effective, but Fisher, who was dared to shoot, came through with 10 key points on 4-of-6 shooting. She entered with a 3.1 scoring average.

Haer led the way with 13 points, while the 5-10 Focht added 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Vanderhoof played another strong all-around game with five points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Mikayla Dolch added six points.

As the game passed the one-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the large, boisterous Villisca crowd began another chant: “We’re from Villisca, couldn’t be prouder. If you can’t hear us, we’ll yell a little louder.”

Said Focht of the fan support: “It just felt amazing. It made the experience all the more enjoyable.”

As she surveyed the postgame scene, with her players still posing for pictures with proud friends and family members, Williams said her players earned the attention. They had swelled the community with pride on a historic night.

“They’re just a good group of girls,” she said. “They wanted it so badly.”

Stanton (10-5)..........................11 4 8 9—32

Villisca (13-3).............................11 13 5 16—45

S: Sara Sederburg 3-14 0-0 6, Rachel Sorensen 3-9 1-2 7, Carmen Subbert 2-12 8-10 12, Ragen Anderson 0-9 0-0 0, Kara Allen 0-2 0-2 0, Erin Dekay 1-2 1-2 3, Macy Elwood 1-3 0-1 2, Alix Kammerer 0-0 0-0 0, Amber Hamilton 0-0 0-0 0, Heidi Vanderholm 0-0 2-2 2, Kimber Wagg 0-1 0-0 0, Moriah Kammerer 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 10-54 12-19 32.

V: Morganne Haer 2-3 7-9 13, Jill Vanderhoof 2-7 1-2 5, Mikayla Dolch 3-9 0-0 6, Amanda Focht 4-7 3-4 11, BreeAnn Fisher 4-6 2-2 10, Alexis Bronner 0-1 0-0 0, Erin Sorensen 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Means 0-0 0-0 0, Jenny King 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-34 13-17 45.

3-point goals: S 0-7 (Subbert 0-1, Sederburg 0-3, Anderson 0-3), V 2-5 (Haer 2-3, Vanderhoof 0-1, Dolch 0-1). Total fouls: S 16, V 13. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. Rebounds: S 35 (Sorensen 7), V 33 (Focht 11). Assists: S 4 (Subbert 2), V 10 (Vanderhoof 5). Steals: S 6 (Anderson 2), V 3 (Vanderhoof 2). Turnovers: S 7, V 13.

* * *

Fremont-Mills girls 53, Nishnabotna 46

MALVERN, Iowa — Sophomore Macy Williams led the way with 21 points and 12 assists as Fremont-Mills earned the third-place trophy with a seven-point consolation win.

Williams made 5 of 14 from 3-point range. Sophomore Taryn Williams added 13 points, five rebounds and four steals.

Nishnabotna trimmed a 13-point, second-half deficit to one early in the fourth quarter. But Macy Williams sank two 3-pointers and Taryn Williams another to push it back to 51-40 with 2:40 left.

Fremont-Mills (11-4)......................12 17 8 16—53

Nishnabotna (11-5)................12 10 12 12—46

FM: Taryn Williams 6-18 0-0 13, Emily Smith 4-11 0-2 9, Kendall Fichter 3-7 0-0 6, Macy Williams 7-19 2-2 21, Andrea McClary 2-3 0-1 4, Kelsey Hurley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 2-5 53.

N: Alexia Blank 2-7 3-4 7, Amanda Brennan 2-7 0-2 4, Cierra Voyles 5-12 0-1 10, Ashley Gilbert 2-10 4-8 8, Molly Goltz 4-11 1-2 10, Anne-Marie Maher 2-4 3-4 7, Sam Moran 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-51 11-21 46.

3-point goals: FM 7-27 (M. Williams 5-14, Smith 1-3, T. Williams 1-10), N 1-11 (Goltz 1-5, Blank 0-3, Voyles 0-3). Total fouls: FM 17, N 10. Fouled out: Fichter. Technical fouls: none. Rebounds: FM 40 (McClary 10), N 39 (Maher 10). Assists: FM 17 (M. Williams 12), N 8 (Goltz 5). Steals: FM 6 (T. Williams 4), N 7 (Goltz 3). Turnovers: FM 14, N 13.

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