Bishop Garrigan of Algona is getting another chance to win that elusive state championship. And this time, the Golden Bears will see someone different in the final game.
Audi Crooks and Molly Joyce delivered their usual big-time performances to lead Bishop Garrigan past North Linn 74-57 and into the Class 1A championship game.
The second-seeded Golden Bears (24-3) lost to Newell-Fonda in each of the past two championship games. But when they get to Saturday’s 7 p.m. title game they’ll find fourth-seeded MMCRU as the opponent. MMCRU ended top-seeded Newell-Fonda’s three-year championship run with a 66-62 victory in the other semifinal.
Crooks, the 6-foot-3 junior pursued by Division I programs against the country, scored 25 points and hauled in 16 rebounds. She made 10-of-15 shots and is now 25-for-33 in the tournament with 57 points.
Joyce, the junior point guard who is playing the best basketball of her career, also scored 25, handed out five assists, made three steals and sank 12-of-13 free throws.
Abbie Capesius (nine points) and Zoe Montag (nine points on 3-for-4 from 3-point range) also made solid contributions for the Golden Bears, who built a 13-point lead in the third quarter, then fended off a late rush from sixth-seeded North Linn (23-2), which made it to state for the seventh time in nine years.
The Lynx did just about everything they could to make it a game. They went 7-for-12 on 3-pointers, shot 50 percent overall and kept their turnovers to a minimum. But it just wasn’t enough against the talented Golden Bears, who outrebounded North Linn 36-14 and came up with 16 offensive rebounds, which led to an 18-3 advantage in second-chance points.
Kamryn Kurt led North Linn with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range. Macy Boge added 12 points and Ellie Flanagan scored 10.
Flanagan drove for a layup at the start of the fourth quarter and Chole VanEtten converted a three-point play after making a layup over Crooks, drawing the Lynx to 54-50. It was 56-52 after Flanagan drove for another hoop, but North Linn got no closer and Bishop Garrigan was nearly perfect at the free throw line, making 15-of-16 in the final 5:10.
The Golden Bears finished 22-for-25 on free throws and shot 48 percent from the field.