MAPLETON, Iowa — Treynor coaches lingered outside the locker room for a few minutes. They had plenty to discuss after an uninspired first half had left their girls down 21 points.
Then assistants Jeff Koenck and Justin Huisman offered a thought to longtime coach Gail Hartigan: What about trying a press against the defending Iowa Class 2-A state champions?
“I thought they were crazy, to be quite honest,” Hartigan said. “But I said, ‘Yep, I’ll stay in it as long as you think we can.’ Really, the kids stepped up.”
No. 10 Treynor came out of intermission and surrendered a couple easy layups. But the Cardinals made their move from there, turning a 23-point hole into a four-point thriller before ultimately falling 51-44 to No. 3 Unity Christian in the Class 2-A, Region 8 final Monday night at Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto.
“Our girls are tough, and they really, really enjoy the game of basketball,” Hartigan said. “They wanted to work hard, and I think the press really did get them into a different frame of mind.”
Freshman Konnor Sudmann led the rally with 20 points — 16 after halftime — as the Cards put together a 20-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to get within 41-36. Sudmann had a three-point play and three layups while Treynor forced Unity into 11 turnovers in the final 16 minutes.
After the Knights converted in the post, Madelyn Deitchler hit a free throw, and Sudmann put back a miss to make the score 43-39 to the delight of a large Treynor crowd. The teams traded buckets again, with Randi Robinson’s layup drawing the Western Iowa Conference champs within 45-41 with 1:35 to play.
But Unity (22-1) hit 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch, and the Cardinals misfired on multiple looks as their season came to a close at 21-2.
“We had some insane momentum there for a while,” Sudmann said. “Definitely for next year that boosted our confidence. Knowing we can play with a team that won state last year ... let’s see how they do at state now.”
Unity led 14-4 after one quarter and built its lead from there in the first half, with senior Chanda Zomermaand collecting 13 of her 18 points on a variety of jumpers and drives. Its tight man defense produced 15 turnovers by the break and led to some easy finishes.
But even in victory, Unity leading scorer and 6-footer Anna Kiel (19.5 points per game) ended with only six against Treynor’s swarming posts.
Treynor came up short in its bid to reach state for the first time since 2008 but saw a glimpse of what its future may hold. The squad graduates one senior in starting guard Sarah Duysen.
“As far as the state looking at us, it should put us on an even keel with everyone else because we just proved we can play with one of the state’s best teams,” Hartigan said. “Hopefully we won’t get as overlooked next year as I thought we were this year.”
Treynor (21-2)...................... 4 6 16 18—44
Unity Christian (22-1).......14 17 10 10—51
T: Sarah Duysen 0-2 0-0 0, Konnor Sudmann 8-13 3-4 20, Kayla Chapman 1-6 0-0 2, Abby Tiarks 5-8 0-0 10, Madelyn Deitchler 3-9 2-4 8, Randi Robinson 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 19-42 5-8 44.
UC: Justine Malenke 2-3 0-0 6, Chanda Zomermaand 5-16 7-8 18, Alyssa Fedders 3-8 0-1 7, Brooke Zevenbergen 1-1 0-0 2, Anna Kiel 2-4 2-4 6, Deidra Noteboom 3-7 0-0 6, Josie Blankespoor 3-6 0-0 6.
3-point goals: T 1-5 (Sudmann 1-2, Duysen 0-1, Chapman 0-2), UC 4-16 (Malenke 2-3, Zomermaand 1-8, Fedders 1-5). Total fouls: T 16, UC 15. Fouled out: T, Chapman. Technical fouls: none. Rebounds: T 23 (Tiarks, Deitchler 5), UC 28 (Kiel 11). Assists: T 7 (Duysen 4), UC 3 (Zomermaand 2). Turnovers: T 20, UC 16.
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