Newell-Fonda returns to 1A semifinals

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Olivia Larsen shoots for Newell-Fonda during a 1A quarterfinal game on Wednesday. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

DES MOINES — Olivia Larsen made a statement the first time she took the court at Wells Fargo Arena as a freshman two years ago.

On Wednesday, the junior returned to state with her Newell-Fonda teammates and picked up right where she left off.

Larsen scored 28 points as the undefeated Mustangs pulled away from Kee of Lansing, 61-45, to again reach the Class 1A semifinal round.

In 2016, Larsen — then just a freshman — had 10 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and three assists in an efficient 18-minute state tourney debut. She made even more of a statement on Wednesday, scoring 15 consecutive points during one stretch for her squad in just five minutes of action.

”We focused on doing what we needed to do to keep moving forward and advancing one game at a time,” said Larsen, who averages nearly 20 points per game. ”Everyone, inlcuding me, got into the game, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen people (as) calm and relaxed (beforehand). We didn’t try to force anything, and it was just very smooth out on the court.

”(The) upperclassmen were telling (teammates) to relax and have fun. We talked gameplans as we always do, and took care of business.”

Fourth-ranked Newell-Fonda (25-0) advances to the semifinal round for the 10th time in its 13 state appearances. The Mustangs next face No. 2 Central Decatur (25-0) at 3:15 p.m. here on Friday.

Emma Stewart had 11 points for N-F, and Megan Morenz pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Mustangs led 22-21 when Larsen went to work, as she sank four straight field goals and a free throw to end the first half and give N-F a 31-28 advantage.

Another key stretch — this time, at the start of the third quarter — put the Mustangs in control for good. Two Larsen layups, a pair of foul shots, and a three-pointer from Stewart gave N-F a 40-28 lead on a 9-0 run. Kee never got within double digits the rest of the way.

Larsen hit all but two of her 13 attempts from inside the three-point arc. The Mustangs had 16 steals, with four different players — Larsen, Stewart, Ella Larsen and Bailey Sievers — picking up three each.

Newell-Fonda turned the ball over only eight times, while forcing Kee into 23 miscues.

Nicki Wood led the No. 9 Hawks (22-2) with 13 points. Kee had won 19 consecutive games before Wednesday.

NEWELL-FONDA 61, KEE 45

Newell-Fonda — Olivia Larsen 12-19 3-7 28, Emma Stewart 4-11 0-0 11, Ella Larsen 2-7 0-0 6, Megan Morenz 2-7 2-6 6, Jenna Coppock 0-2 0-0 0, Maggie Walker 2-4 0-0 4, Ashley Archer 2-4 0-0 4, Bailey Sievers 1-1 0-0 2, Camryn Wilken 0-3 0-0 0, Ellia Lago 0-1 0-0 0, Beth Greenfield 0-0 0-0 0, Paige Roberts 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Tiefenthaler 0-0 0-0 0, Jordyn Whitson 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-59 5-13 61.

Kee of Lansing — Nicki Wood 5-8 1-4 13, Kendra Cooper 4-8 4-5 12, Makayla Walleser 4-10 0-0 8, Ashley Schwartzhoff 1-9 4-8 6, Chloe Severson 1-7 2-2 4, Meredith Gruber 1-1 0-0 2, Katie Brennan 0-0 0-0 0, Ashlyn Seitz 0-0 0-0 0, Annabelle Dibert 0-0 0-0 0, Heather Mooney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-43 11-19 40.

Quarter scores: Newell-Fonda led 11-6, 31-28, 45-35. Three-point goals: Newell-Fonda 6-21 (Stewart 3-7, E. Larsen 2-3, O. Larsen 1-6, Wilken 0-3, Coppock 0-2); Kee 2-10 (Wood 2-3, Walleser 0-3, Schwartzhoff 0-4). Turnovers: Newell-Fonda 8, Kee 23. Total rebounds: Newell-Fonda 29, Kee 40. Assists: Newell-Fonda 9, Kee 8. Steals: Newell-Fonda 16, Kee 4. Blocked shots: Newell-Fonda 6, Kee 5. Total fouls: Newell-Fonda 18, Kee 12.

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