By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
DES MOINES —
Almost from the opening tip Wednesday night, Renee Maneman was a problem, and Marquette didn’t have an answer.
Newell-Fonda’s star junior made three 3-pointers and assisted on another on the Mustangs’ first four possessions to put Marquette in an early 12-4 hole. The Mohawks never got closer than four after that as Newell-Fonda won 69-52 in a Class 1A girls basketball state tournament semifinal at Wells Fargo Arena.
It was the second time in three years Marquette (17-7) ended its season one game away from a berth in the state championship game.
“It was going to come to an end,” Marquette senior Kelsey Tebbe said. “It just sucks that it’s over. All of the basketball camps when we were younger, all that we’ve been through, it just sucks that it’s over.”
Very early, it seemed the Mohawks might have two more days before it was over. Sarah Lampe was fouled on the opening possession and made the first of two free throws. Danielle Bender grabbed the offensive rebound, was fouled and made one free throw. On the other end of the court, Maneman drilled a 3-pointer. But Tebbe put Marquette ahead again with a jumper.
Newell-Fonda (24-2) then went on a 9-0 run, keyed by Maneman.
“We didn’t need those first four 3s,” Marquette coach Jim Kettmann said.
“That was pretty good to get the momentum going for our team at the beginning of the game,” Maneman said. “It forced them to come out, and that opened up the post.”
So the Mustangs grabbed early momentum and established an outside shooting game, which opened up Claudia Larsen and Andrea Christensen in the post. That was all in the first 2:23.
“We knew that they had really good 3-point shooters,” Kettmann said. “If that was all they had, then we would have been fine. We could have gotten out and guarded them. But you throw in 41, Larsen, and 51 (Christensen), they’re just too solid inside. They’re strong. They’re big. They’re athletic. We had to watch them, too.”
Maneman scored a game-high 21 points, but that wasn’t the only way she hurt the Mohawks. She also had game highs in assists (7) and steals (4).
“She’s obviously a fantastic player,” Bender said.
Christensen (16 points) and Larson (10) also reached double figures for Newell-Fonda, whose 69 points were the most Marquette allowed in a game this season.
“They had way too much firepower. I thought we played as good of defense as we could,” Kettmann said.
“They have shooters and inside players,” Bender said. “It was hard to deal with both. ... This team was phenomenal from both sides of the court.”
Newell-Fonda’s press also gave Marquette some trouble as the Mustangs forced 22 turnovers.
“They had a press that we’ve never seen before,” Lampe said. “It wasn’t a man or a zone. It was somewhere in between.”
Newell-Fonda stretched its lead to nine late in the opening quarter, but Tebbe drilled a 3-pointer to make it a more manageable six-point deficit heading into the second quarter.
Tebbe made a layup to cut it to four on the first possession of the second quarter, but Newell-Fonda responded with a 6-0 run to extend its lead to 23-13.
Marquette fought back again with a 7-2 run. Nikki Blum knocked down a 3-pointer and Bender made back-to-back layups off assists from Tebbe and Lampe, who had a team-high six.
“We were playing catch-up the whole time,” Bender said. “We couldn’t get a lead.”
Newell-Fonda made sure of that with a 10-1 run, capped by a Maneman layup, to go ahead 35-21 with less than two minutes before halftime.
“When they’d make a run, it just seemed like we’d hit a big shot or force a turnover or get a big rebound,” Newell-Fonda coach Dick Jungers said. “That’s how you deflect those runs.”
Lampe made a 3-pointer and Tebbe a jumper to cut the gap to 11 at halftime. The Mohawks didn’t have to look far into the past to find belief. In their Monday quarterfinal, Marquette led by 16 in the first half but needed overtime to finish off the win.
“Ar-We-Va came back on us,” Tebbe said. “We said, ‘We were up 16 at half. Why can’t we do it?’ We gave it everything that we could.”
But Maneman drained two 3-pointers during a quarter-closing 18-9 run, including one from well beyond the college 3-point line, that put the Mustangs ahead by 19 heading into the final quarter.
“It was frustrating,” Bender said. “But we had to focus on what we could control. We couldn’t control that kind of shot. ... They just outplayed us.”
Tebbe scored eight of her team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, which Marquette won, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the gap.
“They closed out on me really well, so I knew I had to drive to the basket,” Tebbe said. “I had a couple jump shots. I was trying to do everything I could to get us back in the game. Unfortunately, they’d go down and they’d score, too. So we couldn’t catch up.”
Newell-Fonda advances to Friday’s final against the winner of today’s game between Burlington Notre Dame and Central Lyon.
“They’re a great ball team, and they deserve to be where they are,” Tebbe said.
Before the state tournament began, the Mohawks said if they played their best and were beaten, they’d be OK with that. That’s what they thought happened.
“We did our best and that’s all we can do,” Lampe said, while clutching Marquette’s state basketball trophy.
“I’m not sad because of the way we went out,” Bender said. “I’m sad because we’re out.”
But knowing they were eliminated by a better team for a 32-minute stretch doesn’t make it any easier in the moment.
“Obviously, I’m really happy we got this far,” Bender said. “I’m just so sad because we came so far and we grew so close as a team, it’s going to be hard not to be at practice with these girls everyday and never get to put that jersey back and on. I’ve spent all this time in one sport since I was little and it’s over. ... We really have a lot to proud of.”
NEWELL-FONDA 69, MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 52
NEWELL-FONDA (24-2) — Renee Maneman 8-17 0-0 21, Tailer Schrank 1-3 0-0 3, Brianna Wells 1-4 0-0 2, Claudia Larson 5-7 0-0 10, Andrea Christensen 7-11 2-4 16, Jordan Wilken 1-5 0-0 2, Missy Morenz 1-2 0-0 2, Jade Hess 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey Falline 3-5 1-3 7, Marianna Overgaard 2-3 2-2 6. Totals 29-57 5-9 69.
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC (17-7) — Kelsey Tebbe 7-16 0-0 17, Theresa Koos 1-3 0-0 2, Danielle Bender 4-5 4-8 12, Sarah Lampe 2-3 2-5 7, Grace Sieverding 1-2 0-0 2, Nikki Blum 2-7 2-2 8, Blake Banowetz 1-5 2-2 4, Justine Kalmes 0-0 0-0 0, Carly Jacobs 0-1 0-0 0, Anna Ambrosy 0-0 0-0 0, Tayler Richman 0-0 0-0 0, Erica Timmerman 0-2 0-0 0, Caylee Ploessl 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 10-17 52.
Newell-Fonda 17 20 20 12 — 69
Marquette 11 15 12 14 — 52
3-point goals — Newell-Fonda 6-19 (Maneman 5-9, Schrank 1-3, Morenz 0-1, Wells 0-3, Wilken 0-3); Marquette 6-19 (Tebbe 3-10, Blum 2-5, Lampe 1-2, Jacobs 0-1, Timmerman 0-1). Total fouls — Newell-Fonda 16; Marquette 11. Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Newell-Fonda 32 (Overgaard 5, Wilken 5); Marquette 33 (Bender 9, Lampe 8). Assists — Newell-Fonda 18 (Maneman 7); Marquette 13 (Lampe 6). Steals — Newell-Fonda 15 (Maneman 4, Christensen 3); Marquette 7 (Blum 3, Tebbe 2). Blocks — Marquette 1 (Sieverding). Turnovers — Newell-Fonda 13; Marquette 22.