SULLY — Five seniors lead Lynnville-Sully’s Hawks into next week’s 2014 IGHSAU Class 1A State Tournament. The Hawk Five have been on a “mission” since fourth grade.
“We’ve been together since fourth grade playing AAU basketball. It’s always been a mission to make it to the state tournament,” L-S senior guard Lyndsay Terpstra said. “Now, as seniors, we’re back in it and ready to win some games there.”
All five were part of the Lynnville-Sully team that appeared in the 2012 state tournament. The Hawks came up short a year ago, losing to Colo-NESCO, 46-35, in the second round of regional play on Feb. 12, 2013.
No doubt, Lynnville-Sully’s players and coaches’ mission got even more intense when the official pairings were announced for Monday’s first round of state tournament contests. The sixth-ranked Hawks (21-3) take on fourth-ranked Colo-NESCO’s Royals (23-1) at 10 a.m. Monday at Wells Fargo Arena.
“Colo-NESCO is a well coached, balanced team. They are disciplined on offense as they have good spacing and move the ball well,” Lynnville-Sully head coach Jerry Hulsing said. “They attack gaps.”
Hulsing said the Royals have a “nice, quick” point guard in 5-5 junior Shayla Dean, who handles the basketball well. On the inside is 6-1 senior post Caitlyn Riese, who averages 15 points a game, plus is second on the team with 140 rebounds and leads the Royals with 22 blocked shots.
“Their post player can score on the inside. The other players on the team are a nice complement to her and the point guard,” Hulsing said.
“We are going to keep getting better at what we do. We are working on improving our team defense and rebounding, which will be a big key in the game. This week we have to stay focused on what we need to accomplish and not let the distractions get in the way. Most of all, we just need to enjoy the experience.”
In the other quarterfinal games to open the 1A tournament, top-ranked Newell-Fonda (22-2) plays Bedford (17-7) at 11:45 a.m. Monday. The winner of that game plays the winner of Lynnville-Sully and Colo-NESCO in the 8:30 p.m. Wednesday semifinal game.
Second-ranked Janesville (23-1) plays 11th-ranked Rockford (17-7) at 1:30 p.m. Monday followed by Burlringon-Notre Dame (21-3), which is ranked third, takes on eighth-ranked Adair-Casey (23-3) at 3:15 p.m. The winners play at 10 a.m. Thursday in a semifinal.
The Class 1A championship game is 6 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Wells Fargo Arena.
The other seniors on the Lynnville-Sully team with Terpstra, who is a 5-4 guard, are 5-11 forward Cassie Cullen, 5-6 guard Jade Van Rees, 5-8 forward Becca Vos and 5-11 forward Rachel Van Wyk.
“This will be my third time around at state and I’m ready to go and get a win up there this time,” Cullen said after the Hawks won the regional championship Monday night. Cullen leads the Hawks in scoring with a 14-point per game average. She has 160 rebounds, 57 steals and 22 blocked shots.
Terpstra, who average 7.5 point a game, is the Hawks’ top 3-pointer shooter, hitting 19-of-78. She has made 50 steals and 26 assists.
“We’ve been determined since we began playing together when we were little. This was our big goal,” Van Rees said. Van Rees has dished out a team-high 56 assists and has made 46 steals.
Vos leads the Hawks with 59 steals and she has handed out 40 assists. Van Wyk has pulled down 94 rebounds, which is third on the team.
In the Lynnville-Sully starting lineup are two juniors — 5-9 Lysandra James and 5-8 Madison Rasmusson. James averages 11 points a game and leads the team with 179 rebounds. James and Cullen are the Hawks’ one-two punch inside. Rasmusson had 57 steals and 46 assists.
“Our seniors were part of the team that made it to state in 2011 and 2012 but in different roles. They are the leaders this year and have done a great job all season,” Hulsing said. “They’ve been to big competitions before, including state softball games. They knew what it takes at that level.”
Other members of the Hawks’ team are juniors Tierney Needham and Bayli Van Manen, sophomores Kasiah Ehresman and Marissa Vos and freshmen Brenna Lanser and Jelissa Rozendaal. Junior Shelby Davis is part of the team, but has been out with an injury the whole season.
The Hawks and Royals look to be built much the same way. Each team has the inside-outside game offensively and play tough on the defensive end.
Lynnville-Sully’s three losses came against Class 2A Iowa Valleys, twice, and B.G.M. Colo-NESCO lost to Janesville in January.