N-K girls are one game from state

Published 9:23am Monday, February 18, 2013

The Northwood-Kensett girls’ basketball team made school history with a furious rally in the third round of regional play against No. 14 (Class 1A) Clarksville at Mason City on Friday.

“We’ve never had a chance to go to state before,” Northwood-Kensett head coach Daryl Love said. “There’s no sense quitting now. We just knocked off two straight ranked teams, no problem with another one.”

In the first round of regionals, the Vikings defeated Newman Catholic 46-36. The win was followed by a 42-34 victory over No. 15 North Iowa in round two.

In the first half against Clarksville, the Indians took a double-digit lead (36-22) with 19 points by post Hannah Poppe.

However, Northwood-Kensett made adjustments.

“The biggest problem was an easy inlet pass to the post,” Love said. “We had to front the ball and pay aggressively. In the second half, we had great position, and they executed.”

“The girls just never gave up. So scrappy, and they played with a lot of heart,” he said.

With 2.2 seconds left in the game, Savannah Lira scored a crucial shot to give the Vikings a 51-50 lead, and Clarksville was unable to handle a long last-second pass.

Northwood-Kensett outscored Clarksville 29-14 in the second half.

Lira led the Vikings in scoring with 10 points. Mara Davidson added nine points, and Mary Bjorklund, Kayla Brandstad and Hattie Davidson scored eight points each.

Coach Love highlighted the play of Bjorklund and Brandstad.

“Mary played big tonight,” Love said. “On fast break opportunities she caught some unbelievable passes. She also did a good job on defense. Kayla played a very physical game.”

In the regional final, Northwood-Kensett plays No. 1 Newell-Fonda, a team that has cruised through the postseason so far. After earning a first-round bye, Newell-Fonda defeated Coon Rapids-Bayard 68-27 in round two and Southeast Webster 73-40 in round three.

The regional final is at 7 p.m. at Algona on Monday.