By Jeff Linder
MANCHESTER — How ironic was that?
“Beyond-belief ironic,” according to Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa.
Cascade wasted a 13-point lead, recovered to force overtime, then got a late basket from Amber Meyer to shock No. 1 MFL MarMac, 40-38, in a Class 2A girls’ basketball regional final last night at West Delaware High School.
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life,” Meyer said. “I saw an opening and went for it.”
Cascade (21-3) will face Denver in a state quarterfinal at 11:30 a.m. next Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
The Cougars were supposed to be state participants last year … and the year before that. But they were tripped in regionals both times, and the window of opportunity apparently had closed.
“This was a new year, and a new opportunity,” said Cascade’s Chanda Goedken. “We came out and gave it our all. That’s all you can ask for.”
Meyer’s basket capped a back-and-forth extra session. She was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw.
MFL MarMac (23-2) had a final chance, but Chelsey Lamker missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer.
Meyer was scoreless in regulation, but scored four points in overtime. The other three were scored by reserve Haylee Hoffman.
Cascade led, 26-13, midway through the third quarter, but the Bulldogs raced back. An 11-0 run — including seven free throws — enabled MFL MarMac to take a 33-30 advantage into the final minute of regulation.
“We came back and took the lead, then turned the ball over twice,” said Bulldogs Coach Jason Halverson. “That’s what I’ll remember.
“But all the credit goes to Cascade. Their desire, their urgency level, it was higher than ours.”
So was the Cougars’ shooting percentage. The Bulldogs were 13 of 45 from the floor (29 percent). Cascade was a little better — 34 percent.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” Goedken said. “We were aggressive. We got a hand on their spot-up shooters, and we double- and triple-teamed their posts.”
MFL MarMac managed only two points in the second quarter and six in the third.
But a partisan Bulldogs crowd willed its team back into it. Two foul shots by Emily Blietz gave MFL MarMac a 33-30 lead with 1:07 to go.
After Maggie Reiter’s free throw brought the Cougars within two, Goedken banked home a 12-footer with 29 seconds left to tie it.
Blietz misfired from the wing at the end of regulation.
Blietz finished with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Goedken led the Cougars with 12 points and nine boards. Reiter added 10 points.
Everything was OK for the Bulldogs early. They broke to an 11-6 lead before going cold. Cascade tied it at 11-11 on Reiter’s three-point play as time expired in the first quarter.
The Cougars scored the first 11 points of the second quarter and led, 22-13, at intermission.
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