Time For An Encore? Bishop Garrigan Heads to Fourth Straight State Title Game

by Tyler Lance
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The Bishop Garrigan Golden Bear girls basketball team is headed to the class 1A state championship game for the fourth year in a row, continuing their state title defense with a resounding 73-39 victory over the Remsen St. Mary’s Hawks in the class 1A semifinal round Friday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

For the second game in a row it was domination from the opening tip, as Bishop Garrigan scored the first ten points of the ballgame in the first two minutes and built a 24-4 lead at the end of one, holding Remsen St. Mary’s to just one first quarter field goal.

Golden Bear junior Abbie Capesius says the team came out looking to make an early statement.

The Golden Bears did it by scorching the nets from three point range, as sophomore Zoe Montag hit back to back threes on her first two shot attempts during the first quarter, setting the tone for a 10/21 Bishop Garrigan performance from downtown. Montag was confident in her early shot selection.

Montag would finish with three made triples in five attempts, but the Bishop Garrigan sophomore wasn’t the only Golden Bear hitting from downtown. Freshman Emmi Bartolo hit two of her four thee point attempts on her way to a 10 point night. Senior Molly Joyce made four of eight threes, including two deflecting in off of rubber rims, as she would score 16. Joyce knew early that she had good touch on her shots.

Golden Bear senior Audi Crooks feels the way the Hawks were defending her helped open up threes for her teammates.

Bishop Garrigan also did it by forcing tough outside shots by the Hawks all night long. Crooks protected the rim with five blocked shots, and when Remsen St. Mary’s went with the outside game, they couldn’t find the mark, shooting 5/27 from the field in the first half on their way to a 14/57 night, which included just four made three pointers in 27 attempts.

The Golden Bears also commanded a major edge on the glass, outrebounding the Hawks 38-23. Crooks grabbed 10 boards to go along with 26 points, as she moved into third place on the IGHSAU all-time rebounding list with 1324 in her career. Crooks’ 26 points came on an efficient 10/11 shooting and 6/6 at the foul line. Capesius tied for the team lead with 10 rebounds of her own and Joyce added seven to Bishop Garrigan’s tally. Capesius says that rebounding was a key emphasis of the afternoon.

By the time halftime arrived, Bishop Garrigan led 42-16, having shot over 70% from the field in the first 16 minutes, leading the way for a drama-free second half. Claire Schroeder led the way with 11 points in the loss for Remsen St. Mary’s, while teammate Carmindee Ricke added nine.

The Hawks wrap up the season with a program record in wins, their first girls basketball state tournament appearance in school history, and a record of 24-2. All five Remsen St. Mary’s starters are juniors set to return for next season.

With the victory, the Golden Bears punch their ticket to the state title game for the fourth season in a row, becoming just the sixth program in IGHSAU history to qualify for four straight state championship games. The top ranked 25-1 Golden Bears have now won 20 games by 30 or more points on the season, and will face #2 ranked Newell-Fonda after the Mustangs beat North Linn 66-48 in their semifinal matchup. The game tips off on Saturday night at 7 o’clock, marking the 3rd state title meeting between the Mustangs and the Golden Bears in the past four seasons. Pregame coverage can be heard on the radio starting at 6:40 on KLGA 92.7 FM.

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