Late surge sends Wolfpack to the semi-finals

DES MONIES-Western Christian may have overlooked North Linn at the start of the contest and that fact just about cost the Wolfpack the game, but late 3-pointers allowed Western Christian to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 58-48 Class 2A state quarterfinal victory Monday, Feb. 27.

North Linn came in with a young team as it only has one senior that comes off the bench. Some of the Wolfpack players thought that would work in Western Christian’s favor.

“They had a young team coming in and we thought we would out-experience them,” said junior post Ashtyn Veerbeek.

Instead, the Lynx gave the Wolfpack a battle from the opening tip. Western Christian held a 5-2 lead following a 3-pointer from the right wing by Erika Feenstra, but North Linn stormed back with two-straight layups to give the Lynx a 6-5 advantage.

The Wolfpack countered with a layup and a 3-pointer by Feenstra for a 4-point lead, but a 2-3 zone defense by the Lynx made it tough to score the rest of the way and the quarter ended in a 15-15 tie. Western Christian held a 23-21 lead following a jump shot from the left baseline by Veerbeek to start the second period, but the Lynx punched right back with a 3-pointer. That 3 quickly increased to a 9-0 Lynx run, before Jessi DeJager ended the half with a 15-footer from the left baseline to make the score 29-26 at intermission.

“They came out with a lot of fire and that was good for us to get punched in the throat right away,” Veerbeek said. “The first half was tough inside. They really had a lot of girls down there (in the 2-3 zone). But when we kicked it out to Erika Feenstra, she hit the shots.”

Coach Justin Negen said Feenstra’s play in the first 16 minutes allowed Western Christian to stay in the game. She ended the first half with 16 points. Veerbeek ended the first half with 8.

“I give them a lot of credit. They made it hard for Ashtyn to get clean looks in the first half. For us to even stick around, we needed someone to step up and Erika, man, she was really good,” Negen said. “She knocked down a couple of big shots and got herself to the rim a couple of times. Awesome first half for her.”

Negen felt his team just needed to stick to the game plan and they could advance to Thursday’s semi-final against top-ranked Iowa City Regina.

“We talked about just being aggressive, being true to who we are and what we’ve done all season. To have trust in each other and just leave everything on the floor,” Negen said.

Veerbeek got the ball rolling to start the third period, hitting two free throws and a layup in transition to give the Wolfpack a 30-29 edge. The Lynx clawed back and tied the game at 32 with 5:29 in the frame, before a 3-pointer gave North Linn its first lead of the half at 35-32. That lead stayed for the remainder of the quarter and the Lynx took a 40-37 advantage into the final eight minutes of play.

Once again, Western Christian got a good start, getting a layup from the post by Veerbeek and a 3-pointer by Karsyn Winterfeld from the left wing (her first points of the game) to give the Wolfpack a 42-40 lead with 6:50 to play.

It was after that 3-pointer by Winterfeld when Western Christian felt the momentum start to shift in its favor.

“I was missing them, but I knew I had to keep shooting them. My coach (Negen) also told me that even if I miss, there is somebody there to rebound them,” Winterfeld said. “It felt good (to make it) because I was starting to lose my confidence. Now it was like ‘Yes, now we get to play defense. Let’s get a stop, let’s keep rolling and finish the game’.”

North Linn crawled back to tie the game at 42 with two free throws, but a long jump shot by Veerbeek and a put-back by DeJager gave the lead back to Western Christian at 46-42 with 4:41 to play. The Lynx cut the deficit back to 2 with two more free throws, but a free throw by Veerbeek and another 3-pointer by DeJager from the left wing gave the Wolfpack their biggest lead of the game at 50-44. That 3-pointer proved to be the final nail in the coffin for North Linn. The Lynx got as close as 50-45, but that was all the nearer they would get as Veerbeek’s 6-for-6 shooting from the free-throw line led to the 10-point victory.

“Those fourth-quarter 3s were huge. They were timely,” Negen said. “I’m so proud of those kids for stepping up and knocking them down. In the end we got the ball into Ashtyn’s hands and she made free throws.”

Western Christian was glad to have another opportunity to play a state tournament game.

“It’s awesome to be able to stay here all week and to play again. That’s what we came here for and we’re just so excited,” Veerbeek said.

But the semi-final game might prove to be a tough one. The top-ranked Regals came into the tournament with an undefeated 25-0 record and defeated Logan-Magnolia 67-54 in the quarterfinals.

“They’re an excellent basketball team. They started the year No. 1 and they haven’t lost a game all season,” Negen said. “That (Mary) Crompton kid can shoot the ball like crazy (57.6 percent shooting from the field and 49.3 percent from the 3-point line) and they’ve got a nice inside game. So we know it’s going to be a big challenge, but we get to play another day and that’s awesome.”

Winterfeld said if the Wolfpack stick to their defensive game plan they may pull off the upset.

“They (Iowa City-Regina) hit a lot of 3s and they are quick, so we’re going to have to come out strong. But we like to focus on defense because if our defense is flowing, our offense will follow,” she said.

Western Christian went 19-46 from the field for 41 percent and was 5-of-17 for 29 percent from the 3-point line as a team. The Wolfpack also shot 15-of-22 for 68 percent from the free-throw line.

Individual statistics

Points:Ashtyn Veerbeek 24, Erika Feenstra 18, Jessi DeJager 10

Rebounds:Ashtyn Veerbeek 19, Janae Wynja 5

Assists:Erica Bousema 5

Steals:Jessi Dejager 2

Blocks:Jessi DeJager 1, Ashtyn Veerbeek 1

Comments are closed.

  • Wolfpack pull out a 19-16 win over Blackhawks

    September 28th, 2017
    by

    Western Christian0-0-19-019 Hinton0-10-0-616 HINTON-The matchup between Class 1A fifth-ranked Western Christian and Hinton, which has been receiving votes in the […]


    Local squads race against some of the region’s best

    September 28th, 2017
    by

    SIOUX CENTER-The Sioux Center cross-country invitational at The Ridge Golf and Country Club Thursday, Sept. 21, was the biggest and most talented field of runners Western Christian, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley and Trinity Christian would see this 2017 season.


    Wolfpack go 3-3 again at Bellevue, Nebraska tournament

    September 13th, 2017
    by

    BELLVUE, NEB-Class 2A second-ranked Western Christian always uses the Bellevue West volleyball tournament in Bellevue, Nebraska, as an early-season measuring stick to figure out what to work on for the rest of the regular season.


    Comets come up short to Lions in three sets

    September 13th, 2017
    by

    HULL-Boyden-Hull played a tough two sets against Central Lyon in Siouxland Conference volleyball Thursday, Sept. 7, but the Comets could not dig themselves out of early holes in each set and were swept 25-21, 25-23, 25-16.


    Local teams compete in second meet of the 2017 season

    September 13th, 2017
    by

    Sibley-Ocheyedan cross-country meet Local teams compete in second meet of the 2017 season Both Wolfpack teams claim third-place finishes, Lizzy Blum of the Nighthawks takes first individual meet title, Tiger boys


  • Tigers downed by fifth-ranked LeMars Gehlen Catholic in three

    September 13th, 2017
    by

    LEMARS-Trinity Christian was able to play with Class 1A fifth-ranked LeMars Gehlen Catholic for the first half of each game, but the Tigers could not prevent the game-deciding runs the Jays made in each set and were swept 25-13, 25-17, 25-15 in War Eagle Conference volleyball Tuesday, Sept. 5.


    Comets stay hot, win their home tournament

    September 6th, 2017
    by

    HULL-Boyden-Hull had its fair share of lumps and bumps during its home volleyball tournament Thursday, Aug. 31, but, in the end, the Comets were able to get the points when it mattered most to win all three of their matches.


    Wolfpack start the 2017 campaign in Spirit Lake

    September 6th, 2017
    by

    SPIRIT LAKE-Due to the cancellation of the Spencer cross-country meet Thursday, Aug. 24, the Western Christian girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams had to start their 2017 campaign at the Spirit Lake Invitational Tuesday, Aug. 29 at Brooks National Golf Club.


    Nighthawks and Tigers start 2017 campaign in Milford

    September 6th, 2017
    by

    MILFORD-The Okoboji Invitational at Woodlyn Hills Golf Club Thursday, Aug. 31, was the first meet of the 2017 season for the Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley and Trinity Christian cross-country teams.


    Tigers edge out Wolverines to begin 2017 season

    September 6th, 2017
    by

    PAULLINA-South O’Brien had the edge in experience over Trinity Christian in a War Eagle Conference volleyball match Tuesday, Aug. 29, but the Tigers were able to find a way to win 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 17-15 and start the 2017 season 1-0.


  • [Advertisement.]
  • What’s Happening

    Funding needed for new nature center

    At the  Boyden Community Club meeting Wednesday, Oct.

    A lawn full of truck sunk to the axles

    A lawn full of truck sunk to the axles June De Wit | Staff Writer jdewit@ncppub.com jdewit@ncppub.com It’s not often a semi lands on your front lawn, but it happened Tuesday, Oct.

    Hull Helping Hull donations pile up

    Last Friday, students in both Boyden-Hull School locations, Hull Christian and Western Christian wrapped up their Hull Helping Hull