Cinderella Rocks to play for State Title

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Coach Dave Luecke smiles, realizing they will play for a State Title.

Columbia, Mo. – “Something’s gotten into us,” Elise McDonald said after Thursday’s State Semifinal game.  Exactly one month ago New Haven fell to 11-12 after a loss to Pacific.  Since then New Haven has won seven straight and now have a chance to bring home a Class 2 State Championship on Saturday.

The Lady Rocks came out in Thursday’s State Semifinal, scoring the first four points only to have Marionville answer with five straight points of their own.  The Lady Rocks came right back to take the lead, 6-5.

Little did Shamrock fans know, the last minute would be the most nerve-racking minute of the season.

New Haven led 45-36, tying their largest lead of the game with 1:05 left in the fourth.  New Haven would need to hit free throws down the stretch to have any hopes of playing for a State Title, as the Lady Comets began raining 3’s, hitting three of them in the games final 57 seconds.

The Lady Comets’, Jaycie Dishman brought the Comets within six, 45-39, after draining her fourth three-pointer in the game. Kierstin Monzyk (pictured right) would answer by knocking down both free throws to give the Lady Rocks an eight-point lead, 47-39.

Coach Dave Luecke said, “We shoot free throws at the end of every practice, we put a lot of emphasis on making free throws.  In our past two games, different girls like Gerling and Monzyk who do not shoot a lot of game free throws have stepped up and knocking them down... it has been the difference in us winning or losing.”

Stephanie Gerling was fouled with just 5.9 seconds left, New Haven 51 Marionville 49, Gerling had hit the game winning free throw, to help lead the Lady Rocks past Meadow Heights and Thursday she could seal the deal by hitting both from the line to give New Haven a four point lead.

The sophomore guard knocked in the first and then the second, making it seem like she had done it a million times.  Her two free throws ended up to be crucial as Marionville happen to hit a three as time expired but it did not matter because New Haven was moving on as they snuck past the Comets 53-52.

New Haven was led by their sophomore guard, Rachel Steinhoff, scoring a team high 19 points, was 6-9 from the field and a perfect 7 of 7 from the line.

Gerling and Kallmeyer go crazy after McDonald took a key charge late in the game.

However, it was a collective effort by the Lady Rocks as Elise McDonald had a season high 10 rebounds, Gerling was perfect from the field scoring nine points and Emily Kallmeyer tied the game high with five assists.

Luecke said, “I thought our girls played really well.  Steinhoff had a great game, got into foul trouble early, but she also guarded their best player.  We switched Gerling onto [Josie] Young and I thought she did a great job…our help defense was fantastic with Elise [McDonald] stepping in and taking a key charge late in the game.  They [Marionville] are a really good team, I mean really good.  You have to give Marionville a lot of credit, they never gave in, but neither did our girls.”

Thursday’s game marks the first time this season that all five starters scored four or more points.  The Lady rocks also committed a season low five turnovers.  New Haven went 17 of 23 from the line (74%) and shot the ball extremely well, going 51% from the field.

Gerling picks up Josie Young after Steinhoff picked up her fourth foul.

Monzyk finished with eight points; six of them from the line, Kayla Oetterer added eight points as well and snagged five boards.  Along with McDonalds 10 boards, she finished with five points.

Luecke said, “I still feel like we have not played our best game yet.  We have improved every game and I hope that continues on Saturday.”

New Haven will take on Harrisburg for the Class 2 State Title at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Mizzou Arena.

Later we will have a break down of tomorrow’s game as well as more about New Haven’s Cinderella Run at a State Title.