Spartans, Cardinals a matchup of top defenses

T-R GRAPHIC

DES MOINES — When the No. 8 Grundy Center and No. 2 Treynor girls’ basketball teams meet up in today’s Class 2A semifinals as part of the Iowa Girls’ High School State Basketball Tournament, it will be a meeting of the top two defenses in the 2A field.

The Cardinals have allowed a class-low 724 points this season and the Spartans come in second at 847 points. That’s just an average of 30.1 points per game allowed by Treynor (23-1) and 35.3 per game by Grundy Center (23-1).

Both teams had tough defensive outings in the first game of their state run, with the Cardinals handling West Sioux in a 54-30 win and the Spartans edging past Iowa City Regina by a 46-45 margin.

Like the Regals in their first matchup, Treynor will likely run a full-court zone press against Grundy Center the whole game, something it had mixed results against Regina.

The Spartans had 14 turnovers in the quarterfinals, seven in each half, and the Regals turned those into 15 points.

The Cardinals in their quarterfinal win forced West Sioux into 16 turnovers, leading to 20 Treynor points.

Grundy Center head coach Matt Lindeman stressed after the win against Regina that it will be important to not struggle against the press again, but having role players like Reegan Zinkula and Cora Saak hit shots from outside will go a long way toward breaking that pressure.

“I thought there were times where we didn’t get enough movement offensively and we have to do a better job of that,” Lindeman said of issues in the quarterfinal. “We will talk about that and do that, but Reegan hit a couple bit shots there, Cora hit a bit three so other people are stepping up and making big shots.”

Likely the key matchup will be down low, as Madelyn Deitchler leads the Cardinal offensive attack from the post, averaging 18 points and eight rebounds per game. The Spartans have a pair of strong post players of their own in Brooke Flater and Kylie Willis, who average 10.3 and 7.1 points per contest respectively.

In the first round at Wells Fargo Arena, Deitchler finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Falcons, while Flater and Willis combined to score 23 of the Spartans’ 46 points and haul in 14 of the team’s 24 rebounds against the Regals.

While those three do battle down low, there will be another big-time showdown on the outside between Grundy Center’s Hailey Wallis and Treynor’s Kayla Chapman. Both juniors lead their teams in steals and 3-pointers made, with Chapman averaging 17 points a game and Wallis averaging 14.1 points per game.

Chapman actually led the team in scoring in the first round with 20 points against West Sioux, going 7-for-15 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.

Wallis wasn’t as effective scoring in the quarterfinals, finishing with eight points in the win, but Regina dedicated more pressure to the back court with post defender Alex Weise out with a knee injury. The Cardinals tended to fall back into a 2-3 zone once the Falcons got past half court, so Wallis and the other guards will have to find weak points in the zone to exploit if that’s how Treynor decides to play today.

Though the Cardinals are a strong pressing team, ranking atop the 2A field in steals this season, the Spartans have experience breaking the press when playing NICL West Division teams like West Marshall and Gladbrook-Reinbeck.

Turnovers and taking care of the ball will be an important factor in the contest, in Treynor’s lone loss this season they had just seven steals against Sioux City Heelan, well below their 17-steals-per-game average.

There are plenty of interesting matchups that will play out in this 2A semifinal, and it is sure to be a tight, defensive battle between two evenly-matched teams.

Grundy Center and Treynor will face off in the 2A semifinals of the Iowa Girls’ High School State Basketball Tournament at 10 a.m. this morning at Wells Fargo Arena.

Iowa High School Girls’ State Basketball Tournament

At Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines

CLASS 5A

Quarterfinals

Monday, Feb. 26

Johnston 73, Waukee 48

Iowa City High 78, Valley 62

Iowa City West 63, Dowling Catholic 53, OT

Indianola 64, Cedar Falls 63

Semifinals

Thursday, March 1

Iowa City High 58, Johnston 52

Iowa City West 58, Indianola 45

Championship

Friday, March 2

Iowa City High (25-0) vs. Iowa City West (18-7), 6 p.m.

CLASS 4A

Quarterfinals

Monday, Feb. 26

Center Point-Urbana 69, Boone 47

Marion 71, Fairfield 39

Grinnell 70, Mason City 51

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Le Mars 52, Lewis Central 43

Semifinals

Thursday, March 1

Marion 56, Center Point-Urbana 46

Grinnell 68, Le Mars 47

Championship

Friday, March 2

Marion (25-0) vs. Grinnell (23-2), 8 p.m.

CLASS 3A

Quarterfinals

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Crestwood 66, South Tama County 28

North Polk 64, Davenport Assumption 47

Monticello 61, Clear Lake 50

Sioux Center 76, Red Oak 60

Semifinals

Thursday, March 1

Crestwood 72, North Polk 48

Sioux Center 65, Monticello 57

Championship

Saturday, March 3

Crestwood (25-0) vs. Sioux Center (24-2), 3 p.m.

CLASS 2A

Quarterfinals

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Treynor 54, West Sioux 30

Grundy Center 46, Iowa City Regina 45

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Cascade 61, Dike-New Hartford 44

North Union 47, Panorama 46

Semifinals

Friday, March 2

Treynor (23-1) vs. Grundy Center (23-1), 10 a.m.

Cascade (23-3) vs. North Union (21-2), 11:45 a.m.

Championship

Saturday, March 3

Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.

CLASS 1A

Quarterfinals

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Springville 54, Bishop Garrigan 36

Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton 57, AGWSR 47

Newell-Fonda 61, Kee, Lansing 45

Central Decatur 52, Montezuma 48

Semifinals

Friday, March 2

Springville (22-3) vs. Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton (24-1), 1:30 p.m.

Newell-Fonda (25-0) vs. Central Decatur (25-0), 3:15 p.m.

Championship

Saturday, March 3

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.