Trojans surpass Wahawks in state quarterfinals

The girls basketball team advanced to the state semifinals after defeating Waterloo West 65-63 behind 21 points from Meena Tate ’23.

Owen Aanestad, Online Sports Editor and Yearbook Co-Sports Editor

After a regular season filled with uncertainty, BJ Mayer and the girls basketball team came into their seventh state tournament appearance as a team looking for something more than a win: revenge. Coming into the state quarterfinal the Trojans only had three losses on the year, which came back-to-back-to-back in early January, one of them being the highly ranked Wahawks on Jan. 8 where the girls basketball team fell 67-63. The Trojans were set on having the final say in the Mississippi Valley Conference rivalry this afternoon in Des Moines. With the help of 21 points from Meena Tate ’23 and a stellar shooting performance from junior Emma Ingersoll-Weng, the Trojans took down the Wahawks, 65-63.

Tate dribbled around a screen from Anna Prouty ’23 and knocked down a long two to open up the game and put the girls basketball team up 2-0 early. A transition pull-up three from the talented three-point shooting Wahawks pulled Waterloo West within one, 8-7 Trojans with 1:51 left in the first. Tate found Melae’ Lacy ’24 for an easy lay-in as time expired in the first to send West into the second up 12-11.

Some early turnovers in the second gave Waterloo West a two-point lead two minutes in until, with the help of Mayer’s high-low offense, Tate squared up from the top of the key and knocked down a three to give the lead back to West, 17-16 with 6:14 left in the half. Ingersoll-Weng launched a deep three only seconds later to go along with her 17 points on the afternoon. Freshman Lucy Wolf made her state tournament debut when she drove and found herself on the free-throw line and knocked down both to put the girls basketball team up by three with two minutes left. Back-to-back transition layups from Waterloo West tied it up at 27 heading into the half.

The Wahawks jumped out to a 33-24 lead after an Audrey Koch ’21 turnover and Halli Poock drive and lay in to force a Mayer timeout with 5:29 left in the third. A  Matayia Tellis ’21 steal set up Ingersoll-Weng for a transition three which she knocked down to pull the Trojans back within three. A Wahawk inbound play gone wrong gave the girls basketball team a chance to put a dent in Waterloo West’s five-point lead with 47 seconds left in the third. West couldn’t convert from beyond the arc and found themselves down 43-37 with only one quarter left.

“We knew it was going to be back and forth, we wanted to have a chance going into the fourth quarter and we told them, you got your chance now we gotta find a way to figure it out,” Mayer said.

Prouty backed her way into the lane and knocked down a hook shot to open up the fourth and then hit a big three the next possession to bring West within three with 6:39 left in the game. Up by one with 2:40 left Ingersoll-Weng drove and made a beautiful pass across the lane right in the hands of Tate where she laid it in to give the Trojans a three-point lead. Ingersoll-Weng, in her first-ever trip to Wells Fargo Arena, stepped up late and knocked down a big three to put West up 62-60 with 40 seconds left to spare. Tellis picked off a Wahawk pass and went coast to coast for the lay in to close the door on the one-loss Waterloo West team, the Trojans went on to win 65-63.

“Mayer was just like everyone go out there and have fun these last few seconds and we took that to heart,” Tellis said. “Nobody thought we were going to win this game, we gotta go out and win another one.”

The girls basketball team will play for a trip to the state championship on Thursday, March 4 against Johnston at noon.