Second time’s the charm
Grundy Center girls survive and advance after 2OT win
GRUNDY CENTER — Reegan Zinkula and Hailey Wallis know when it comes to crunch time, one of them is getting the basketball. Well, when it came to Tuesday’s Class 2A Region 5 quarterfinal against Sumner-Fredericksburg, both took on the pressure in do-or-die situations.
With less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation and Grundy Center trailing 49-46, Sumner-Fredericksburg missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Zinkula got the ball in her hands, and started driving coast-to-coast at a dead sprint. She pulled up at the 3-point line, which helped get the Cougar defender off her, and she let the basketball fly. The ball bounced around, hitting different parts of the rim a couple times before finally falling through the net as the buzzer sounded to force overtime.
Then in the first overtime, with 11.6 seconds left on the clock and the Spartans again down three, 57-54, Zinkula passed to Kylie Willis who passed it to Wallis. She put up a game-tying attempt and drained it just ahead of the buzzer, forcing a second overtime. In the second free period of basketball, Wallis scored Grundy Center’s first seven points, helping the Spartans pull out the 65-59 come from behind win.
“If I wanted to tie the game to keep playing, I had to shoot that 3 and make it,” Zinkula said. “My only thought was confidence. Just do what I do. Shoot my shot. Don’t overthink it. That’s exactly what I did. I shot my shot, and it went in.
“If we’re looking for a 3-point shot, it’s going to be me or (Wallis). She’s always ready to go, and she’s always encouraging all of us.”
The Spartans advance to Friday’s semifinal against Class 2A No. 5 North Linn on the Lynx’s home court after North Linn (22-1) topped Waterloo Columbus 57-21 Tuesday.
Despite never scoring more than four points in a quarter through the first three quarters, Wallis finished with a career-high 32 points to lead all scorers, including going 13-of-16 at the free-throw line. She scored 12 points in the fourth quarter after scoring four, two and four respectively through the first three quarters. Her game-tying 3 in the first overtime accounted for her only points of the period before scoring the seven in the second overtime to help seal the deal.
“We’ve worked through end of the game situations in practice,” Wallis said. “A lot of times I’m put into the pressure of having to make that shot. When I got the ball, I saw the clock. There was about four seconds left. I was like, ‘There’s not enough time. I’m just going to let it fly.’ It went in. Thankfully it did.
“I realize my teammates sometimes rely on me to make those shots. My coaches have a lot of faith in me. It doesn’t really feel like pressure. I know I have to do it for my teammates.”
Brooke Flater added 13 points, and Zinkula finished with 10. Cassidy Pagel led the Cougars (18-5) with 14, Krayton Allen finished with 13 and Jaydlin Seehase had 10.
Grundy Center never led at any point of regulation. S-F led 49-44 when Allen fouled Wallis on a 3-point shot try, sending the sophomore to the charity stripe where she made the first 2-of-3 with 22.2 left on the clock. The Cougars jumped out to a 53-49 lead 48 seconds into the first overtime before Madison McMartin made a trey to bring the Spartans within one. Flater gave the Grundy Center its first lead of the game with a field goal and a 54-53 edge, but Pagel came right back with a layup to take the lead back. Becca Pagel made a pair of free throws for a three-point lead before Wallis’ big shot.
“We’ve done this a few other times throughout the season where we’ve comeback,” Spartan head coach Matt Lindeman said. “South Tama when we were down 14 with six minutes to go. The big thing they truly believe is that they’re going to keep playing hard no matter what. Whatever it says, it says on the scoreboard. They’re going to keep fighting to the end. They’re going to keep doing that together.”
It was a slow start to the contest for the Spartans. Neither team scored for the first 2:15, but then the Cougars jumped out to a 7-2 edge, and used a 6-0 run to close out the first quarter for a 13-5 advantage. S-F opened the second by taking a 10-point lead. Wallis got a contested driving layup to go, Zinkula made a 3, and Flater a field goal to bring Grundy Center within 15-12. Late in the second, Zinkula had a breakaway layup off a turnover, and after another Cougar turnover, Flater kept the Spartans within reach 18-16. Flater then finished off the first with a buzzer-beating jumper to keep the Spartans within two, 20-18.
The Cougars opened the second half with an 8-2 run for an eight-point margin, and the teams traded points the rest of the quarter as S-F maintained a lead between six and eight points, and led 38-31 going to the fourth. Wallis began the fourth with a pair of treys to help bring the Spartans within 40-37. The Cougars led by as much as 49-42 when Allen scored on a layup off a turnover with 1:40 to play in regulation.
Grundy Center’s game at North Linn tips Friday at 7 p.m.
Grundy Center 65,
Sumner-Fredericksburg 59, 2OT
At Grundy Center
SUMNER-FREDERICKSBURG (18-5) — Becca Pagel 2 2-4 6, Krayton Allen 5 1-3 13, Jenna Brandt 1 0-0 2, Georgia Ackley 0 0-0 0, Jaydlin Seehase 4 2-2 10, Ivy Hirsch 3 0-0 6, Chelsea Burrows 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Pagel 5 4-8 14, Jenna Pagel 3 2-2 8. TOTALS 23 11-19 59.
GRUNDY CENTER (19-2) — Hailey Wallis 8 13-16 32, Madison McMartin 2 0-0 6, Sydney Mathews 0 2-2 2, Kylie Willis 1 0-0 2, Brooke Flater 6 1-3 13, Reegan Zinkula 3 2-4 10, Landry Luhring 0 0-0 0, Cora Saak 0 0-0 0, Sarah Lindeman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 20 18-25 65.
S-F 13 7 18 11 8 2 — 59
GC 5 13 13 18 8 8 — 65
3-Point Goals–S-F 2 (Allen 2); GC 7 (Wallis 3, McMartin 2, Zinkula 2). Totals Fouls–S-F 16, GC 19. Fouled Out–Brandt.