DES MOINES — When Kiah Stokes hit the shot to force overtime, B.J. Mayer saw doubt in his players’ eyes.
“There was fear there,” he said. “I just told them that big-time players make big-time plays. Big-time teams make them too.”
And Iowa City West made them in overtime.
Third-ranked West scored the final nine points of the extra session and took down No. 2 Linn-Mar, 65-58, in a Class 4A semifinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament Friday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said sophomore Ally Disterhoft. “It’s our first time (at state), and we didn’t want it to stop here.”
West (23-2) will play No. 1 Des Moines East (25-0) for the championship at 8 p.m. Saturday. The Scarlets defeated No. 5 Southeast Polk, 50-44.
Linn-Mar, the 2010 champion, retired at 22-3.
The Lions got new life when Stokes hit her only 3-pointer of the season, on a set play from the top of the key at the end of regulation that tied the game at 56-all.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” said the University of Connecticut signee. “I put it up and put a wish with it. I knew it had a chance.”
Kailee Karr’s scoring drive put the Lions ahead 58-56 with 2:35 left in overtime, but the rest of the game belonged to West.
The play of the game came at the 2:19 mark, when Shelly Stumpff scored to tie the game and drew a foul from Stokes, her fifth.
“When that happened, there was a little spark in my thoughts,” said West’s Tatum Klein. “I was really happy, but I knew we still had to play hard to win.”
Stumpff missed the free throw, but the Women of Troy rebounded, and Shahana Williams scored on a short jumper to put West up for good with 1:45 left, 60-58.
West scored its final five points from the free throw line — two from Jessica Shull, two from Stumpff and one from Mckenzie Piper.
Big-time team. Big-time plays.
West prevailed despite 22 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks by Stokes. The Women of Troy harassed her enough that she missed eight of 15 shots from the field.
Linn-Mar dominated early, jetting to an 18-4 lead in just over 6 minutes. Then West seized momentum behind a barrage of 3-pointers. A triply by Brianna Sturtz got the Women of Troy even at 26-all, and they had a 32-26 lead by halftime.
“We got down early, but we kept pushing,” Disterhoft said. “We gave up some easy looks to Kiah early, but then we locked up our defense and started hitting shots.”
Stokes said, “They made 3-pointers when they had to. We just couldn’t stop them and couldn’t defend it.”
Linn-Mar took a 41-36 lead midway through the third quarter, then Klein scored seven straight West points to tie the game at 43-43. It was back and forth the rest of the way.
Piper’s 3-pointer put West in front, 54-53, with 50 seconds left, and it was 56-53 before Stokes drilled the game-tying shot with 3 seconds left in regulation, a 20-footer with little arch and all net.
Disterhoft led the Women of Troy with 17 points. Klein came off the bench to score 12, and Piper tallied 10.
Karr added 12 for the Lions; Mykaela Brandt registered 11.
Starters Stokes, Karr and Jenna Eells are part of a senior class that went to state four times and registered a four-year mark of 94-7.
“I don’t want to grasp that it’s over,” Eells said. “A lot of people didn’t think we’d get back and get this far, but we busted our butts to do it.”
AT DES MOINES
IOWA CITY WEST (65): Ally Disterhoft 5-8 6-8 17, Brianna Sturtz 1-3 0-0 3, Shelly Stumpff 3-9 3-5 9, Jessica Shull 2-3 2-2 7, Mckenzie Piper 4-14 1-2 10, Shahana Williams 1-2 1-2 3, Tatum Klein 4-8 3-4 12, Paige Yoder 2-6 0-0 4. Totals 22-53 16-23 65.
LINN-MAR (58): Mykaela Brandt 5-11 0-0 11, Rachel Thrune 2-8 0-0 4, Kailee Karr 5-11 0-0 12, Jenna Eells 2-5 0-0 5, Kiah Stokes 7-15 7-10 22, Leandra Martins 0-0 0-0 0, Shanice Cheatham 2-7 0-0 4, Courtney Major 0-3 0-1 0. Totals 23-60 7-11 58.
Halftime: West 32, Linn-Mar 28. End of regulation: 56-56. 3-point goals: West 5-12 (Disterhoft 1-1, Sturtz 1-2, Stumpff 0-2, Shull 1-1, Piper 1-4, Klein 1-1, Yoder 0-1), Linn-Mar 5-14 (Brandt 1-2, Karr 2-4, Eells 1-4, Stokes 1-2, Major 0-2). Team fouls: West 11, Linn-Mar 19. Fouled out: Stokes, Brandt. Rebounds: West 35 (Stumpff, Piper 9), Linn-Mar 41 (Stokes 18). Assists: West 11 (Sturtz, Shull 3), Linn-Mar 7 (Karr 4). Steals: West 10 (Klein 3), Linn-Mar 5 (Major 2). Turnovers: West 12, Linn-Mar 17.
Postgame interview with Linn-Mar’s Kiah Stokes:
Postgame interview with Iowa City West’s Ally Disterhoft:
Postgame interview with Iowa City West’s Mckenzie Piper:
Postgame interview with Iowa City West’s Tatum Klein:
Ally Disterhoft, B.J. Mayer, Brianna Sturtz, Class 4A semifinal, girls' state basketball tournament, Iowa City West, Jenna Eells, Jessica Shull, kiah stokes, Linn-Mar, McKenzie Piper, Shahana Williams, Shelly Stumpff, Tatum Klein