Mustangs, Knights face off tonight -Local teams meet for third time this season
ARMSTRONG — Tournament time begins tonight for Class 1A schools throughout Iowa with local teams Armstrong-Ringsted and Graettinger/Terril facing off in a district semifinal in Armstrong.
The Mustangs ended the regular season with three victories last week, dominating Harris-Lake Park 73-32 on Monday, edging past Corwith-Wesley-Luverne 39-37 on Thursday and defeating West Bend-Mallard 63-56 on Friday to finish with a 10-9 record.
“The girls are starting to play ball like they can, but they often play to the calibre of their opponent,” said A-R coach Steve Waldstein.
The Mustangs defeated North Sentral Kossuth earlier in the season when the Eagles were rated in the top 15 and nearly pulled off the sweep in the final meeting, but couldn’t hang on.
Waldstein said he looks for that time of play in the tournament.
“The girls have come a long way with a new system and newphilosophy,” he said. “Were fairly young as a whole. I’m not disappointed in our defense, but we’ve had some bad shooting.”
At times, the Mustangs struggled to make shots within a few feet of the basket.
Meanwhile G/T (5-12) is an entirely different squad from last year’s state champion.
Only junior Theresa Petersen returned with experience.
“Even Theresa, her role has changed a lot this season,” said G/T coach Roger Conway.
A year ago, Petersen came off the bench to provide a 3-point threat and be another lengthy defender.
With six seniors lost to graduation including the team’s height, she and the other three juniors, Liz Sparks, Malorie Girres and Leah Flaharty were thrust into a leadership role on the seniorless team. The remainder of the Knight roster is four sophomores and a freshman.
“We’ve grown a lot this season, though it may not show in the record,” said Conway, who co-coaches the team with Cheryl Harris. “Defensively, we played respectably well mixing up man-to-man and zone defenses with some full-court pressure. But with our lack of depth (only nine players) we can’t press the whole game.”
Conway said both the shooting and the passing have improved and the ability to find the open player.
“They’re a good group with very positive attitudes,” he said.
Sophomore point guard Brianne Gonzales leads A-R in scoring with 13.3 points per game followed by junior post player Rosie Cheever with around 11 points per game and senior post player Michele Iris with nine points again. Senior Lisa Pelzer and junior Morgan Grabinoski, both guards, each average around five points per contest.
Petersen leads the Knights with 14.3 points per game while Girres averages just under 11 points with Sparks the next high scorer at just over four points per contest.
The Mustangs won both meetings against the Knights, taking the first game by 40 points in Armstrong, but only winning by 10 in Graettinger.
The winner of today’s ball game will take on the North Sentral Kossuth/Twin River Valley winner next Tuesday at Fenton.