A season unlike any other for Bishop Garrigan came to an end in the 1A state title game, as the Newell-Fonda Mustangs won their 3rd straight state title, defeating the Golden Bears 66-52.
A slow start to the game doomed Bishop Garrigan, and forced them to play uphill for the whole second half. Newell-Fonda got things started by taking a 7-2 lead, then extended to an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. That continued a trend of slow first quarter starts at the state tournament for the Golden Bears. The difference in this game was that the Mustangs continued that momentum into the 2nd frame. A 15-10 scoring edge in quarter two by Newell-Fonda made the score 33-20 at halftime, the lowest scoring 1st half of the season by Bishop Garrigan.
The Golden Bears made their largest push of the game to start the second half. A three pointer by senior Anna Berke, and layups by freshman Abbie Capesius and senior Kaylyn Meyers made the score 33-27. The Golden Bears would never get closer than that again.
After getting the deficit back down to 5 points with 3:44 to go in the 4th quarter, the Golden Bears allowed an 8-0 run by Newell-Fonda to blow the game open. The Mustangs did a masterful job of using the passing game to play keep away from Bishop Garrigan, and the Golden Bears had no choice but to commit fouls, as 6 out of the 8 points in that 8-0 run came on Mustang free throws. Additionally, 13 of the last 15 Mustang points came from the foul line, as Newell-Fonda finished 17/21 from the charity stripe.
The Golden Bears struggled in two stat categories in which they normally excel, as Newell-Fonda won the turnover battle 21-8 using their full court press, and the rebounding battle 34-28, including 17-6 on the offensive glass. Over the course of the game, Newell-Fonda attempted 60 field goals compared to only 37 for the Golden Bears.
Bishop Garrigan never led at any point in the ballgame, coming no closer than 5 points in the second half, as Newell-Fonda was able to control the pace of play throughout most of the contest.
Sophomore Audi Crooks posted a double double, just as she did in every other postseason game this season, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds. No other Golden Bear reached double figures in points. Junior Macy Sievers had 17 points and senior Bailey Sievers had 14 for the Mustangs.
Bishop Garrigan finishes the season with a 25-2 record, matching last year’s mark. The Golden Bears also finish as the Top of Iowa West champion, regional champion, make their 3rd appearance at the state tournament in four seasons, and end the year as the class 1A runner up for the 2nd straight year.
Newell-Fonda has now won 106 of the last 108 games that they’ve played, a stretch covering four full seasons.