Denver sophomore Macy Matthias gets minutes because of her perimeter shooting and she delivered in a big way in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
Matthias knocked down two 3-pointers to put her team ahead to stay late in the third quarter and the second-seeded Cyclones went on to beat seventh-seeded Underwood 58-51 to start Day 3 of the 2022 state tournament.
Denver improved 24-2 with the victory – both losses were to top-ranked Dike-New Hartford – and moved into a semifinal game at 11:45 a.m. Friday.
Matthias came into the state tournament with 29 field goals – 18 of them from 3-point range. She went 3-for-4 from long range in this one for nine key points.
The Cyclones also got a big lift from senior starter Sydney Eggena, who was averaging a modest 6.5 points. She finished with 18 on 7-for-12 shooting to lead all scorers and grabbed six rebounds.
Teammate Reese Johnson filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Grace Hennessy added 10 points, six rebounds and two steals.
Underwood (22-3) reached the state tournament for the first time since IGHSAU Hall of Famer Jamie Boyd led the Eagles to consecutive state titles in 2003 and 2004. And with only one senior, they have a promising future.
That senior, Kendra Kuck, led Underwood with 13 points. She also made three steals, blocked a shot and handed out an assist. Juniors Aliya Humphrey and Leah Hall each scored 10 points for the Eagles and Humphrey added five assists. Alizabeth Jacobsen, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who has star potential, grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked two shots and scored nine points on 4-for-5 shooting.
Underwood led by as many as five points in the first half and kept pace once the Cyclones caught up. The Eagles tied it at 36 on Hall’s three-point play with 2:04 left in the third quarter but never regained the lead.
Matthias buried a 3 from the left corner, then knocked down another from the top of the key for a 42-38 lead. It was 45-40 at the quarter break after Johnson converted a three-point play off a jumper in the lane and the Cyclones made enough shots and came up with enough stops to stay ahead over the final 8 minutes.