CRESTON, Iowa — Grace Blomstedt, tears streaming down her face, helped hold the state qualifying banner with her Red Oak teammates Saturday after the Tigers defeated ADM 49-37 in the Class 3-A regional girls basketball final.
With the victory, they became the first Red Oak girls basketball team to earn a spot in a sanctioned state basketball tournament.
“The first team ever ... ever,” Red Oak coach Dan Martinez said. “The town is going to be so excited, and that’s great. They deserve it. It’s been 90 years since the last girls basketball team made it to state.”
That was in 1923, in an unsanctioned, invitation-only tournament. That year, Red Oak lost to Corydon 12-5.
Blomstedt delivered her best performance of the season against ADM. The 6-foot-1 sophomore center finished with a triple-double — 14 points, 13 blocks and 11 rebounds — to go with five steals. Blomstedt was a blocking machine in the middle as Martinez elected to play zone defense the entire game.
“She was a difference maker down low,” ADM coach Brett Watson said. “She had multiple blocks, and she changed a half-dozen other shots. She completely controlled the paint. We couldn’t get anything inside. When we did penetrate into the lane, she swatted it or sent it somewhere else. And we couldn’t hit anything outside at all.”
For the game, ADM shot 15 of 56 (26.7 percent) from the field and 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
Red Oak (13-11) got out to a 12-6 lead after the first quarter. Blake Bergen used a spin move at half-court to get free and bank in a 3-pointer to beat the first-quarter buzzer. Bergen finished with six points.
Red Oak expanded the lead to 24-14 at halftime. ADM struggled as Blomstedt contested nearly every shot in the paint.
Martinez praised Kate Walker for her floor game.
“Nobody will ever know how much she means to this team,” Martinez said.
Walker finished with 10 points, making 6 of 8 from the foul line. The 5-10 sophomore said she is excited to play in her first state basketball tournament.
“We knew we could do it. We just had to believe,” Walker said. “It shows how good the Hawkeye Ten is, because we were right in the middle of the pack and here we are going to the state tournament.”
Bailey Hankins also hit double digits for Red Oak, scoring 11 points.
Red Oak has won seven of its past eight games and will now face Davenport Assumption (22-2) in the opening round of the state basketball tournament in Des Moines. The game is slated for 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 26 at Wells Fargo Arena.
“We’ve been talking about the big dance,” Blomstedt said. “Now we’ve made it. We’ll be ready.”
Red Oak (13-11) ................. 12 12 12 13—49
ADM (13-12) ................. 6 8 9 14—37
RO: Madison Gilbert 0-3 1-2 1, Sabrina Guerra 2-4 3-4 7, Kate Walker 2-5 6-8 10, Grace Blomstedt 5-6 4-4 14, Blake Bergen 1-2 1-2 1-1 6, Bailey Hankins 4-8 3-7 11.
Harlan 71, Carroll 36
HARLAN, Iowa — Western Iowa Class 5-A/4-A/3-A No. 2 Harlan led 16-6 before going on an 18-0 run to put the game away.
Carroll was led by 22 points from Brittany Holdsworth.
Carroll ................. 6 8 8 14—36
At Harlan ................. 25 20 13 13—71
C: Brittany Holdsworth 22, Cassie Evers 7, Haley Stevens 4, Lisa Daringer 3.
H: Jess Schaben 13, Elle Kloewer 12, Taylor Frederick 10, Liz Riessen 8, Jordyn Moser 7, Taylor Wagner 6, Ana Petersen 5, Taylor Leinen 3, Mackenzie Swanson 3, Josie Esser 2, Courtney Cowry 1, Mikayla Evers 1.