CHEROKEE - The No. 1 (Class 1A) Newell-Fonda girls earned a return bid to the state tournament here Monday night with a 72-53 victory over George-Little Rock.
Renee Maneman scored a team-high 19 points, while also recording nine steals, dishing out seven assists and grabbing five rebounds for the Mustangs (22-2 overall), who face Bedford (17-7) on Monday in the quarterfinals in Des Moines at 11:45 a.m.
"This was a great win to earn a trip to state," said N-F head coach Dick Jungers, who guided the Mustangs to a runner-up finish last year. "George-Little Rock was a very solid team, but we found a way to get the job done.
"I love how our kids answered the challenge."
Leading by just one at the half, Newell-Fonda used a 43-25 second half to pick up the victory.
"The first half was very much a grind-it-out type game," Jungers said. "The press wore them out as the second half wore on and a big third quarter for us was the difference."
George-Little Rock 53
Newell-Fonda - Jordan Wilken 2, Renee Maneman 19, Taiyler Schrank 14, Brianna Wells 15, Maddi Morenz 4, Claudia Larsen 16, Hailey Falline 2.
Claudia Larsen had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while also blocking five shots.
Brianna Wells added 15 points and Taiyler Schrank 14 for the Mustangs, who caused 25 George-Little Rock turnovers.