Mustangs back to state

IDA GROVE – The Newell-Fonda girls will get a chance to defend their Class 1A state title.

The seventh-ranked Mustangs claimed a convincing 65-47 victory over Shenandoah here Monday night to earn a regional title.

Newell-Fonda, behind the play of Erin Gerke, jumped out to a 38-23 halftime advantage. Gerke scored 17 in the first 16 minutes for the Mustangs, who finished the year as runners-up in the Twin Lakes Conference.

Much like last year, the TLC will feature three teams in the state field. No. 1 Pocahontas Area is back in 3A after placing second last winter, while seventh-ranked Manson Northwest Webster returns in the 2A field.

Newell-Fonda will open defense of its title on Monday in Des Moines against No. 2 Exira-EHK (23-0). Tip is set for 3:15 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena. The winner meets either third-ranked Springville (23-1) or No. 6 Kingsley-Pierson (21-2) next Thursday in the semifinals.