CEDAR RAPIDS — Cascade’s zone makes most foes shudder. It made the Mount Vernon Mustangs salivate.
Reserve Micah Wieditz was 4-for-4 from long distance in the first half to stake Mount Vernon to a comfortable lead, and the Mustangs toppled No. 1 Cascade, 52-33, in a Class 2A girls’ basketball regional final Monday night at Jefferson High School.
“I love to shoot the ball,” Wieditz said. “When you have the shot, you’ve got to take it.”
Wieditz torched Cascade from outside, Taylor Dicus did her damage inside, and the Mustangs achieved a “grand slam” of sorts by advancing to state tournaments in four consecutive major girls’ sports.
Mount Vernon is the reigning state champion in track and volleyball, and finished sixth last summer in softball.
And if the Mustangs (22-3) continue to duplicate Monday’s effort, they’ll be an extremely difficult team to beat next week at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
They open with No. 11 Audubon (21-1) in a first-round game at 11:30 a.m. next Tuesday.
“It feels good to be one of the final eight,” Dicus said. “We weren’t expected to get this far.”
Last year’s state runner-up, Cascade retired at 23-2. The 52 points was the most the Cougars surrendered in a game all season.
“I know a lot of people will be surprised when they see this score,” said Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa. “But let’s be honest. They’re a phenomenal team, and they executed flawlessly.”
Mount Vernon shot 50 percent (18 of 36) from the field and outrebounded the Cougars, 27-15.
This was a textbook effort on how to beat a zone. Take good shots. Make good shots.
“We went through three teams (in regionals) that played man, but I thought the zone fell right into our hands,” said Mount Vernon Coach Bob Kintzel. “We have the size, and our best 3-point shooter stepped up big.”
That would be Wieditz, who entered the game with Mount Vernon trailing, 11-6, late in the first quarter.
She made two free throws, then swished back-to-back 3-pointers, to put the Mustangs ahead, 14-11, at the end of the period.
They never trailed again.
“Once I hit the first one, the crowd started going nuts,” Wieditz said. “That really got me going.”
Wieditz struck again twice more before halftime, and Mount Vernon led, 31-18, at intermission.
Her scoring — 14 points — was done. And so was the damage.
Mount Vernon scored the first nine points of the second half to extend the lead to 40-18, and the show was over.
Dicus matched Wieditz with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Karly Cochrane didn’t take a shot, but contributed eight assists.
Holly Hosch led Cascade with 16 points.