KEOSAUQUA — Regina Catholic (12-7) rolled in to Keosauqua with hopes for an upset of the Van Buren County (15-7) girls basketball team Friday night in the Class 2-A, Region 3 semifinal. The match up proved to be a quintessential battle.
Isabel Manning opened the scoring on a lay-up just 40 seconds into the game on her way to a 33 point night. The Warriors led 13-11 in the final seconds when Regina's Grace Gaarde launched a 30 foot three point attempt that banked off the board and went in as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter of play, giving the Regals a 14-13 lead.
Both teams offense disappeared during the second quarter as each team put a meager four points on the board. Manning again opened the scoring on a spinning left handed lay-up, but the Warriors would not score again until Jaelyn Boley hit a lay-up with 1:22 left in the half, as the Warriors trailed at half 18-17.
In the early minutes of the second half, Manning intercepted an inbounds pass and hit a lay-up. On the next possession, Manning followed up with a put back to give Van Buren 21-20 lead, their last lead of the night. Despite a deep 3-pointer by Manning and a jumper by Ella Jirak who was fouled and converted the free throw for a three point play, the Regals outscored the Warriors 11-6 over the final five minutes of play in the third period. The Warriors were still hopeful of closing out a victory as they trailed by just four points entered the final frame.
The key for Regina in closing out the win in the fourth period was converting on 14 of 20 free throws. The Regals would garner all of their points during the final three minutes of play on free throws as they connected on 12 attempts during that span. Manning would score 16 of Van Buren's 18 points in the final frame before fouling out with 15 seconds remaining. Regina Catholic advances to the Regional Championship game in Williamsburg where they will face West Branch (19-1).
Manning led the Warriors in scoring with 33 points and rebounds with nine caroms. Zoe Best added five rebounds for the home squad. Regina Catholic finished with four players in double figures for scoring. Annie Gahan led the Regals with 17 points. "We had a great season," noted the Warriors head coach, Matt Zeitler, "we over achieved this season."
Teams 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Regina Catholic 14 4 13 23 54
Van Buren Co. 13 4 10 18 45