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Top-ranked Bears crush BCLUW

Submitted photo: Bishop Garrigan celebrates its girls regional championship on Wednesday inside the Mason City High School gym.

MASON CITY — The Bishop Garrigan senior girls basketball players will be making their third state tournament trip in the last four seasons.

The top-ranked Golden Bears (23-1 overall) made quick work of BLCUW here Wednesday night, securing a return trip to the Class 1A state tournament with a 63-31 victory.

“This has been a great run for our seniors,” said Garrigan head coach Brandon Schwab. “I’m really happy for our team to get the opportunity to play in Wells Fargo Arena again.”

The graduating Class of 2021 lost to defending state champion Springville as sophomores. The Golden Bears will now face them in the first round again next week.

Bishop Garrigan raced out to a 19-8 lead after the opening eight minutes and pushed its advantage to 41-13 by the break.

Reigning Class 1A player of the year Audi Crooks was the main reason why, scoring 22 points in the first half alone. The sophomore, who is the daughter of 1986 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Jimmie Crooks and former BGHS standout Michelle (Vitzthum) Cook, had a game-high 26 points.

“We knew they couldn’t match us inside and we made it a point of emphasis to get it to Audi early and often,” Schwab said. “We didn’t move the ball like we wanted to early, but we had a solid start.

“She had a great game and shot well from the line.”

Sophomore Molly Joyce added 14 points, with senior Anna Berke contributing eight.

“Molly played a great floor game,” Schwab said. “They tried to press us, but we kept attacking and took it away.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well. We were 2-for-18 from the three-point arc, but I think it was the atmosphere. It was like an open gym. No fans were allowed on the lower level and they were all up top.”

The Golden Bears (23-1 overall) reached the finals last year before falling in a thriller to Newell-Fonda (23-1). Earlier this season, Garrigan posted a win over the Mustangs.

The lone loss for the Golden Bears this season came on the road at Class 5A Top-10 squad West Des Moines Valley.

Garrigan will begin play in the 1A quarterfinals on Wednesday against Springville (21-4) inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Tip is set for 2 p.m.

The winner of that contest faces either Exira-EHK (23-0) or MMCRU (21-2) on Friday at 2 p.m., with the finals set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Bishop Garrigan 63, BCLUW 31

Bishop Garrigan — Emma Grandgenett 4, Anna Berke 8, Molly Joyce 14, Kaylyn Meyers 4, Abbie Capesius 6, Gracie Elsbecker 1, Audi Crooks 26.

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