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BG advances to second straight final

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Bishop Garrigan celebrate after defeating Exira-Ehk during class 1A semi-finals on Friday inside Wells Fargo arena

DES MOINES — Top-ranked Bishop Garrigan knocked off any lingering rust from a tight quarterfinal win here Thursday afternoon to advance to a second consecutive Class 1A state championship game.

After getting past Springville on Wednesday, the Golden Bears and No. 4 Exira-EHK were tied following eight minutes of play inside Wells Fargo Arena.

From the end of the first quarter until the final buzzer sounded, Bishop Garrigan flexed its muscle, downing the Spartans 57-35.

The Golden Bears (25-1 overall) will get their long-awaited postseason rematch with two-time defending champion Newell-Fonda on Saturday night. While Garrigan won the regular season meeting, the Mustangs claimed the title last year.

“(Last season) was heartbreaking,” Crooks said. “It meant a lot to beat them earlier this year and now we want to do it down here at state.”

Sophomore sensation Audi Crooks came close to recording a triple-double, posting 17 points, 18 rebounds and blocking seven shots. Molly Joyce added 17 points, three assists and two steals, and Kaylyn Meyers chipped in 10 with three assists and two steals.

“It is super exciting to be able to play in the state championship again,” Joyce said. “We’ve had this goal in mind since the beginning of the season. We had much better ball movement after the first quarter which really opened up scoring opportunities for everyone.”

With the score tied 9-9 at the end of the first, the Golden Bears put together a 13-1 run to leave Exira-EHK (24-1) in too much of a hole to ever climb out of.

The Spartans, playing with just seven healthy players, shot just 27 percent from the 3-point line. Mollie Rasmussen had nine points with Quinn Grubbs adding eight.

Tatum Grubbs, a senior who suffered an ACL injury earlier in the season, was able to take the court one final time with her Spartan teammates. She knocked down a 3-pointer, had a steal and made a layup before exiting to a standing ovation.

Crooks dominated inside as she has done for the past two seasons, as the 6-foot-3 center was 7-for-12 from the field. She also showed off her court awareness, letting loose on an outlet pass to Joyce for an easy bucket.

Through two games, Crooks, who holds offers from several major Div. I schools, is 19 of 25 from the field, scoring 42 points with 28 rebounds and 13 blocked shots.

Exira-EHK was in the state tournament for the first time as a consolidated school. Exira won the 1A title in 2010 behind hall of famer Hallie Christofferson, who would go on to a standout career for Iowa State University.

BISHOP GARRIGAN 57, EXIRA-EHK 35

Bishop Garrigan — Molly Joyce 5-13 5-5 17, Kaylyn Meyers 4-7 0-0 10, Gracie Elsbecker 2-5 0-0 4, Reese Rosenmeyer 0-4 0-0 0, Audi Crooks 7-12 3-7 17, Emma Grandgenett 0-2 0-0 0, Anna Berke 1-5 0-0 2, Gracie Rosenmeyer 0-3 0-0 0, Kelly Baade 1-4 0-0 3, Reagan Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Abbie Capesius 2-3 0-0 4, Meredith Tigges 0-0 0-0 0, Ashlyn Hovey 0-0 0-0 0, Ella Muller 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylynn Capesius 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-58 8-12 57.

Exira-EHK — Alisa Partridge 1-7 0-0 2, Quinn Grubbs 4-11 0-2 8, Mollie Rasmussen 4-11 1-2 9, Shay Burmeier 2-9 0-0 6, Macy Emgarten 2-13 1-2 5, Hailie Snider 0-0 0-0 0, Tatum Grubbs 2-4 0-0 5, Hannah Nelson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-56 2-6 35.

Quarter scores: Tied 9-9, Bishop Garrigan led 29-16, 44-22. Three-point goals: Bishop Garrigan: 5-22 (Joyce 2-8, Meyers 2-3, Elsbecker 0-2, R. Rosenmeyer 0-1, Grandgenett 0-1, Berke 0-2, G. Rosenmeyer 0-2, Baade 1-3), Exira-EHK 3-23 (Partridge 0-1, Q. Grubbs 0-2, Rasmussen 0-5, Burmeier 2-7, Emgarten 0-5, T. Grubbs 1-3). Rebounds: Bishop Garrigan 45, Exira-EHK 36. Assists: Bishop Garrigan 11, Exira-EHK 10. Blocked shots: Bishop Garrigan 7, Exira-EHK 1. Steals: Bishop Garrigan 8, Exira-EHK 6. Turnovers: Bishop Garrigan 12, Exira-EHK 14. Fouls: Bishop Garrigan 11, Exira-EHK 13.

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