Twin Cedars and Moravia had already met three times this season, with the Sabers holding a 2-1 edge. After the first half, it looked like the Mohawks might tie the series in the most important game of the season.
Twin Cedars erased the five-point halftime deficit with a 49-point second half and downed Moravia 74-63 in the girls Class 1A, Region 6 semifinal action Friday night in Albia.
The teams traded baskets to start the game before the Mohawks went up 6-2. With the game tied at six, Hannah Eastlick converted a three-point play to give Moravia a 9-6 lead. Eastlick would have seven first-quarter points for Moravia. Ayla Crosby hit the first of her game-high four 3s to tie it at nine.
The score was tied again at 13 before Brittney Roby used an old-fashioned three-point play to put Twin Cedars up 16-13. Twin Cedars led 16-15 after one.
Moravia used a 2-3 zone that forced Twin Cedars into some long possessions on offense and when some of the secondary scorers for Moravia stepped up the Mohawks were able to control the quarter.
Moravia took a three-point lead after consecutive baskets by Eastlick. Roby tied it at 19, but baskets by McKenzie Smith and Jenna Sheehan put Moravia up, 23-19. Alee Hugen scored the games’s next four points to tie it. Roby picked up her third foul of the opening half and to make it worse, Smith buried a 3 to give Moravia a five point cushion. Another Sheehan basket gave Moravia a 30-25 lead at the break.
“We tried to pack it in and Moravia hit some shots,” said Twin Cedars coach Justin Nolte.
The strategy worked to some extent, as the inside duo of Katelynn Tracy and Kendall Brown combined for only four points for the Mohawks in the opening half.
Moravia held the lead until the midpoint of the third. The teams traded baskets to open the third, but Roby hit a 3 to close the gap to two. Twin Cedars tied it at 38 on Crosby’s second 3 of the quarter. Hugen scored her third basket of the third to give the Sabers the lead back at 40-38. Crosby followed with her third score from behind the arc to put Twin Cedars up 43-38.
Hugen, who had a tough first half inside against Tracy, had 10 points in the quarter as the Lady Sabers took a 49-43 lead after three.
“I just felt like something had to change or we’d be done,” said Hugen. “I caught the ball in better spots near the block.”
“We made an adjustment at the half to attack the weakside of the zone,” added Nolte.
Tracy led Moravia with six third quarter points and to reach that double-double level that she is so familiar with.
Foul trouble hurt the Mohawks in the final quarter. Autumn McDanel hit two 3s to pull Moravia within 57-55. This came after she had picked up her fourth foul three minutes earlier. She would last another minute before heading to the bench with over three minutes to play. Tracy also played the majority of the quarter with four fouls.
The big problem for Moravia was the three-minute drought that let Twin Cedars go up 66-55 with just over a minute to play. Roby had nine points in the quarter — five of those in the critical stretch.
“I usually look to pass first but tonight I hit some shots and felt really good scoring off the dribble,” said Roby.
“We missed some shots and the foul trouble kept us from being as aggressive as we needed to be on defense,” said Moravia coach Clint Woodward.
Moravia was forced to foul to try and stay in it and the Lady Sabers took advantage. They would hit 10 of 14 in the fourth. Six of those were knocked down by Crosby.
“I felt really confident coming in and after hitting those 3s — I was comfortable at the line,” said Crosby.
The 10 foul shots were the final 10 points for Twin Cedars, and it was all they needed to close out the 74-63 win.
Both coaches of these two fine area teams knew the game would be competitive and they weren’t disappointed.
Moravia closed out the season at 19-3.
Twin Cedars (21-3) advances to the regional finals and will play Earlham, who upset highly-ranked Adair-Casey. The game will be Monday night in Truro.
Twin Cedars 74, Moravia 63
MOR 15 15 13 20 — 63
TC 16 9 24 25 — 74
MOR (63) — Eastlick 13, Smith 11, Brown 4, Tracy 16, Sheehan 8, McDanel 9, Nicole Self 2 . Totals 26-60 7-7 63.
3-point goals — 4-10 (McDanel 3, Smith). Fouled out —McDanel . Rebounds — 38 (Tracy 17). Assists — 12 (Smith 4). Steals —6 (McDanel 2, Tracy 2, Sheehan 2). Blocks — 8 (Tracy 6). Total fouls — 22. Turnovers — 21.
TC (74) — Hugen 20, Crosby 20, Elizabeth Rowley 2, Roby 24, Krissy Davis 2, Kenzie McCarty 6 . Totals 26-60 15-25 74.
3-point goals — 7-19 (Crosby 4, Roby 3 ). Fouled out — none . Rebounds — 26 (Hugen 10). Assists — 20 (Roby 7, Payton Fee 6). Steals — 8 (Hugen 3, Roby 3). Blocks — 0. Total fouls — 10. Turnovers — 8.