Girls basketball’s season comes to an end in state semifinals

BJ Mayer and the Trojans fell to Johnston 52-47 at Wells Fargo Arena on March 4 to finish the season with a 14-4 record.

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

After taking down Waterloo West on Monday, the sixth-seeded girls basketball team faced off against the Dragons of Johnston for a trip to the state championship. The last time BJ Mayer and the Trojans ran the table as a six seed in the state tournament was back in 2018 where West took home a state title. West came into the afternoon looking to take down another top-seeded team but ran into trouble down low and fell to Johnston 52-47 after coming within two from being down 16.

Johnston got right to work on the offensive end with a post feed and score on their first possession from the University of Iowa commit Jada Gyamfi ’22 15 seconds in to give the Dragons an early 2-0 lead. Emma Ingersoll-Weng ’22 grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast for the contested lay in to tie it up at four with 5:57 left in the first. The Dragons knocked down a three from the top of the key to get their shooters going with 2:21 left in the first to extend their lead to four. Meena Tate ’23, after putting up 21 points on Monday in the quarterfinals drove in and banked a floater off the glass with less than a minute left as the Trojans headed into the second down 18-11.

West’s somewhat timid offense found themselves scoreless for the first two minutes of the second as shots continued to fall on the other end. Johnston forced a Trojan timeout up 25-11 with 5:51 left in the half. A turnover and missed three from West kept them scoreless until the three-minute mark when Lucy Wolf ’24 drove in and got fouled to end the Trojans’ scoring drought from the free-throw line and put a dent in the Dragons biggest lead of the afternoon. Only a couple of minutes later, Wolf later stole the ball in transition and found Anna Prouty ’23 in the paint for a lay-in to make it 27-15 Johnston with 2:25 left in the second. The Trojans continued to chip away at the Dragons’ lead with the help of a last-second inbound play where Koch hit a floater to make it 29-21 Johnston after one half.

Ingersoll-Weng got behind her defender on a nice backdoor cut for an easy bucket to start off the third quarter and the Trojans’ comeback. Johnston slowed things down and then hit another corner three, but Matayia Tellis ’21 answered with three of her own on the other end to make it 35-26 Dragons with five minutes left in the third. Tellis stayed aggressive on both ends of the floor and picked up three more points the old-fashioned way to bring the Trojans within five. A post feed to Melae’ Lacy ’24 gone wrong left the Trojans empty on their last possession of the third as Johnston went into the fourth up 39-32.

Tellis picked up two of her 10 points of the afternoon with a pull-up jumper a minute into the fourth, to go along with another Ingersoll-Weng coast-to-coast bucket as the Trojans cut Johnston’s lead to four. Tate picked up a big block and then forced a Dragon turnover as West looked to pull back within four. The Trojans came up empty once again to make it 42-36 Johnston with 4:25 left. Koch backed her way into the lane where she got fouled and knocked down back-to-back free throws to make it 45-43 Dragons with 2:07 left in the fourth. Johnston’s lead proved itself too tough to break as the Trojans fell to the Dragons with a final score of 52-47. Koch led the team in scoring in her last game as a Trojan with 16 points. Mayer’s squad finished the year in the state semifinals with a record of 14-4.