Editor’s note: This article is part of our series that takes a look back at our area within the last few decades. This article was printed in the Clinton Herald on March 11, 2000.

DES MOINES — Simply the best.

Preston proved it was just that Friday night by claiming the Iowa Class 1A girls state basketball title with a 51-37 victory over Newell-Fonda at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

While many people thought a matchup between the top-ranked Trojans and No. 2 Newell-Fonda might produce a close matchup, Preston showed it was clearly the dominant team in the 1A field.

With 6-foot-2 junior center Beth Marvin leading the way with 16 points and 18 rebounds, the Trojans never trailed in the game as they concluded their season with a 28-0 record.

Newell-Fonda finished at 27-1.

“Before the season I had a coach’s shirt printed up with the number ‘28’ on it,” said Preston coach Todd Borrison. “I wanted to show the girls how many wins we could get this year. We had a little chuckle about it since we knew there were tough games against teams like North Cedar and Northeast during the season.

“But I knew we had a shot to win the state title,” the coach added. “This is a dream come true.”

Marvin was named captain of the all-tournament team for her efforts.

“This group worked so hard during the season,” she said. “We had a dream and we went out and accomplished it.”

Three other players scored 10 points apiece for the Trojans Friday — juniors Ashley Helmle, Amy Young and Linissa Bowman. Bowman also had 10 rebounds as the Trojans won the battle of the boards 49-35.

Like Marvin, Young — whose status was questionable prior to the game after she sprained an ankle in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Treynor — was also named to the all-tournament team.

The main key for Preston Friday was a solid defensive attack that shut down a a team averaging 76 points a game.

“Defensively we just wanted to try and slow them down,” said Borrison. “We ran a few presses we hadn’t used since Christmas and popped out a zone we haven’t shown. We didn’t force a lot of turnovers, but we corralled them so they couldn’t get going.”

Borrison admitted he was concerned about the Mustangs’ defense.

“We worked on breaking their press all morning,” he said. “That was my biggest worry. Their press reminds me of Northeast’s, which we had some success against. I hoped tonight, playing on a bigger court, that we’d have even more success breaking it.”

Preston had trouble breaking it early as it committed five turnovers in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the game.

“It just took us a little time to get our composure,” Borrison said. “Once we got settled down, we did a good job of finding the open girl.”

Young opened the scoring with a layup to give Preston the lead, but sophomore forward Sara Larsen answered for the Mustangs with a free throw.

A pair of baskets by Helmle helped Preston stretch its cushion to four points.

Forward Janelle Seagren — who scored all 13 of her points in the first half — answered the call for Newell-Fonda by scoring two straight buckets.

But Preston countered with layups from Bowman and Young to make it a 10-6 game at the end of the first quarter.

Marvin continued the Trojans’ scoring with two straight baskets to start the second frame, making it 14-6.

“Marvin played a great game,” said Borrison. “I thought our biggest advantage was her matchup inside. (Trish) Miller, who guarded her, is good and 5-foot-10. But Beth is good and 6-2. We knew she had the edge on offense, and on defense we told Beth to keep her hands straight up without swatting at the ball. She made the shots tough for them.”

Preston got its lead as big as 10 points in the second frame when Bowman made a three-foot bank shot with 2:53 left, putting the Trojans on top 20-10.

Preston still led by nine over a minute later when Newell-Fonda got some momentum back when Seagren made a shot in the lane and Miller added a putback for a 22-17 game at halftime.

The Mustangs pulled to within three at the start of the third period on guard Becka Kosky’s eight-foot baseline jumper.

But as was the case in Preston’s other two state tourney games, a big third-period run put some distance between the Trojans and their foe.

Marvin began the run with a layup and Bowman made a 12-footer from the baseline for a 26-19 lead at the 5:52 mark.

Larsen made one free throw to break the Mustangs’ offensive lull before junior Shayla Franzen ignited Preston’s crowd with a 3-pointer from the right wing at the 3:27 mark for a nine-point lead.

Preston still led by nine late in the period when Helmle hit a pair of charity shots, putting the Trojans on top 35-24 entering the final stanza.

Bowman’s layup just over a minute into the fourth quarter gave Preston its biggest lead at that point.

Kosky’s 3-pointer and Miller’s layup temporarily gave the Mustangs a bit of hope as they pulled to within 37-29, but Bowman’s free throws at the 2:45 mark pushed the gap back to double digits.

Newell-Fonda was forced to foul after that and Preston hit its free throws. For the night, Preston was 10-of-10 from the charity stripe.

The reserves for both teams were shuffled in during the final minute, and the Preston bench and cherring section erupted in celebration as the final horn sounded.

Preston began the season ranked No. 1 and held that status the entire campaign.

The Trojans most likely will be top-ranked next season as well, since the team only loses Jenn Sparks and Melissa Klemme to graduation.