Odds were not necessarily in North Mahaska favor when facing rival Lynnville-Sully in the Class 1A Region 8 semifinal Friday night in New Sharon. The host Warhawks were facing LS for the third time this season, had won the previous nine meetings and the January 27 game was a two-point contest.
North Mahaska, 20-3, put on a zone defense in the second half to break away from a five point lead to score the 59-37 win.
They will face top seed Winfield-Mount Union in Williamsburg on Wednesday for the right to go to the state tournament.
The final score was no indication how close this game was contested. Lynnville-Sully, 16-8, stayed close trailing 18-16 after one period. NM stretched the lead to 27-22 at halftime. In the second half North Mahaska switched defenses due to foul trouble and Lynnville-Sully went cold from the field hitting just five second half baskets.
“We had to make some changes because of foul trouble,” said NM coach L.E. Moore. “We don’t play a lot of zone but we did in second half. The team played tough. It was a great team win.”
North Mahaska came out firing in the second half when Regan Grewe hit a pair of buckets and Breckyn Schilling drilled a 3-pointer forcing LS coach Jerry Hulsing to call a timeout just two and a half minutes into the half. Tatum Huyser listened to her coach and knocked down a bucket to cut the score to 34-24. Greenlee Smock hit a 3-pointer to keep the Hawks within striking distance after NM made another run. From there NM took over limiting the Hawks to 5-of-9 from the free throw line. Following Smock’s trey the Hawks would not hit another basket until Huyser scored with 2 minutes 50 seconds to play. Kate Harthoorn drained a three in the final minute, but the game was decided.
“I’m not sure many people thought we would be here,” said Moore. “I knew could and the kids knew they could. We were able to take advantage of some things underneath.
“We have some things to clean up before Wednesday, but we will be ready.”
North Mahaska shot 36 percent from the floor hitting 21-of-57 shots. The defense held LS to 23 percent from the floor. The Hawks were 12-of-19 from the foul line while NM went 13-for-20.
Schilling and Grewe gave the Warhawks the floor game they needed. Schilling had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Grewe finished with 17 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists. Jessica Castaneda came off the bench to score eight points with seven rebounds.
Sydney Andersen finished with six points and two steals while Libby Hargis had five points.
Smock led Lynnville-Sully with 10 points and Huyser had nine.