West Des Moines Valley’s lone senior came up big in the Tigers’ biggest game so far.
Meredith Rieker knocked down two early 3-pointers to give her team a lead it never relinquished and finished with 20 points as the seventh-seeded Tigers upset No. 2 seed Des Moines Roosevelt 49-44 in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
Valley used its size to keep the smaller Roosevelt players from getting the ball where they wanted and capitalized on their free throw opportunities to end the Roughriders’ 19-game winning streak.
Sophomore Elise Jaeger added 14 points for Valley, part of an impressive stat line that included 17 rebounds, four assists and five steals. Another sophomore, 5-foot-3 Elan Litt, contributed seven points, four assists and a steal.
Valley (19-5) managed only four field goals in the second half, but finished 17-for-24 on free throws and came up with nine steals.
Iowa State commit Arianna Jackson, a junior, led Roosevelt with 14 points, while Trinity Cheatom scored 13 points and made five steals. Amaya Davison grabbed eight rebounds for the Roughriders and scored six points.
Roosevelt (20-3), which had not lost since falling to state tournament qualifier Dowling Catholic on Dec. 3, struggled to get the ball close to the basket and did not shoot well enough from the perimeter to compensate. Cheatom went 3-for-6 from 3-point range, but the rest of the team was 2-for-13.
Rieker’s eight first-quarter points helped Valley to a 14-10 lead and Tigers fought off the Roughriders the rest of the way. Cheatom buried a 3 from the left corner and made a layup after a steal to draw her team to 20-19 midway through the second quarter. But Roosevelt would never get that close again.
Valley finished the half with a 10-3 run for a 30-22 lead and the Tigers stretched it to 33-22 when Rieker hit a 3 – she finished 4-for-7 from long range – at the start of the third quarter.
Roosevelt pulled to 38-35 on Jackson’s 3 from the right corner and trailed 46-42 after Amaya Davison made a short jumper with 2:18 left. But that was the Roughriders’ last basket and the Tigers sank three free throws to cap their upset.
This is Valley’s first trip to state since winning the championship in 2019. The Tigers will play in a semifinal game at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday.