Pioneers earn regional tourney win over Generals
Okoboji advanced in the Class 2A girls regional tournament with a 62-50 win over Siouxland Conference foe Sibley-Ocheyedan on Saturday. The Pioneers led from start to finish in their third matchup with the Generals.
Okoboji won 65-60 on the road on Dec. 20, and 62-42 at home on Feb. 3.
"This time of year, you survive and advance," Okoboji coach John Adams said. "It's hard to beat a team three times, and the challenge was, last Friday we really handled them. We got out to a quick start and got up 18-20. I give them credit there. We knew they would battle back. Coach Eekhoff has been around the block and he does a heck of a job. Their kids stepped up and made some shots for them. It was a good challenge for us, because I think they cut it to (nine) there and we had to buckle down and hit some shots ourselves, which was good."
Thanks to back-to-back buckets by freshman phenom Kallyn Stumbo — who finished with 23 points, 10 steals, eight assists, five rebounds and a block — the Pioneers closed out the first quarter with an 18-9 lead.
"She's been amazing," Adams said of Stumbo. "She doesn't play like a freshman, and none of our freshmen do. She's one that controls the game on offense and defense. She really does. She makes it really hard on the opposite point guard to get their offense started and she can play 32 minutes if she has to and she never gets tired. She hits big shots. She's just got that calm nature to her. When things get a little rattled, she's the one that calms us down and gets us in what we need to do. She's sees the floor so well. She's just an overall fantastic player. She makes it look like I know what I'm doing out there."
A pair of three-pointer by Ali Goehring and Magan Christopherson highlighted a 8-0 run to start the second, as the Pioneers extended their lead 26-9 before closing the first half with a 33-17 lead.
The Generals battled back in the third quarter, as a free throw by Jill Berkland capped a 14-7 run that cut the deficit back to single digits. But that was as close as the Generals would get, as the Pioneers pulled ahead for the 12-point win.
Christopherson finished with 13 points, three rebounds and a steal. Jones had eight points, four rebounds and two steals. Junior Elle Olthoff had six rebounds and a block for the Pioneers, who advanced to take on Rock Valley in Rock Valley on Tuesday.
"We split with them. They finished one game ahead of us in the regular season in the conference," Adams said of the Rockets. "They've got great guards. It'll be an up-and-down game. They can shoot it and score. They've got four seniors who have played a lot of basketball, so it'll be a a challenge."
Adams said he has been impressed with the way his young team has improved this season, and he credited their work as well as the work of his assistant coaches.
"When we started the year, two of our starters now weren't even starting," Adams said. "Camry and Magan came in and picked things up and earned their way into that spot. I would say we're pleasantly surprised with winning 15 games, but we knew over the summer that this group had a chance to be pretty special. They work hard at it. They stay after practice and they shoot. They came in during the summer. I'm blessed too with a great staff who will stay late with the girls. They work to help make the girls better and I think that's why we've seen so much improvement."