Pleasant Valley 52, Iowa City High 47

Pleasant Valley’s first trip to the state tournament  in 12 years will last a little longer.

The fourth-seeded Spartans got 16 points and 10 rebounds from junior Halle Vice and rallied from 11 down in the first half to advance to the Class 5A semifinals with a 52-47 victory over Iowa City High.

Pleasant Valley hit the Little Hawks with a flurry of 3-pointers in the third quarter to take the lead, then played solid defense to stay in front down the stretch. Vice sank four straight free throws and grabbed a key rebound in the final minute to secure the victory, which sends the Spartans (22-2) against top-seeded Johnston (24-0) in a semifinal game at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Addie Kerkhoff added 12 points for Pleasant Valley and 5-foot-5 freshman Reagan Pagniano gave the Spartans a big lift off the bench, getting seven points, five rebounds and five assists while playing 24 minutes.

Iowa State commit Kelsey Joens, a junior, led City High (19-5) with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while Andie Westlake scored 13 before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Georgia Kimm added eight points for the Little Hawks, who reached the state tournament for the fifth time in six years, and Eviyon Richardson contributed seven points, 11 rebounds and three assists.

City High scored the final nine points of the first quarter to open a 17-12 lead, then used a 10-4 run to stretch the lead to 27-16 with just under 3 minutes left in the first half.

Pleasant Valley got the lead down to 27-22 at halftime, then found its shooting touch in the third quarter. The Spartans made their first five shots of the quarter and went 8-for-15 in the period, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range. This after they made just 8-of-30 shots in the first half.

City High still managed to keep pace and trailed just 43-41 heading into the final quarter. After the Little Hawks tied it at 45 on a slick turnaround shot by Joens in the lane, the Spartans finally went ahead for good when Vice sank a free throw and Pagniano fed Kerkhoff for a layup on a fast break.

Pleasant Valley was clinging to a 50-47 lead when the Little Hawks got four shots at the basket in one possession and missed them all. Vice rebounded the final miss, got fouled and sank two free throws to finish it off.