Using a dominant defense and the proven formula of getting the ball inside on offense, Bishop Garrigan booked a return ticket to the state title game, defeating the Exira-EHK Spartans 57-35.
The game didn’t start quickly on offense, as the teams were tied 9-9 at the end of the first quarter, and the Spartan defense had largely kept the ball away from superstar sophomore Audi Crooks, allowing her only one made basket in the quarter. However, in the 2nd, the Golden Bears were able to start working the ball inside to Crooks, and they piled up 22 points in the quarter, their highest scoring quarter at state this year. Once halftime arrived, Bishop Garrigan had built a 31-16 lead.
The Golden Bears didn’t let off the gas in the 3rd, scoring the first five points after halftime and forcing a quick Spartan timeout. Bishop Garrigan finished with a 15-6 scoring edge in the frame. By the time the final horn sounded, Audi Crooks had recorded 17 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots. Sophmore Molly Joyce added 17 for Bishop Garrigan, who did not allow any Spartan players to reach double figures in scoring.
The Golden Bears prevented Exira-EHK from having good looks on 3s, as the Spartans finished 3/23 from downtown. Exira-EHK had been undefeated prior to this loss.
Up next will be a rematch of the state title game from last season, with Bishop Garrigan taking on the Newell-Fonda Mustangs. The two teams matched up earlier this season, with the Golden Bears emerging victorious 66-45, the only time this season Newell-Fonda has scored less than 73 points. Bishop Garrigan will be looking for their first girls basketball state title, while the Mustangs will be trying for their 3rd consecutive 1A championship. The tipoff at Wells Fargo Area will be at 6:30 p.m.