ELK HORN – The Stanton Viqueens came to Elk Horn on Friday to face off against the EHK-Exira Spartans in an Iowa Class 1A Region 8 semifinal matchup.
The Spartans gained the early lead in the first quarter, going up 6-5 with four minutes remaining. After the teams going back and forth, Jenna Stephens knocked down back to back threes to put the Viqueens up 17-11 but a buzzer beating three by Mollie Rasmussen cut the lead to three at 17-14 after the first quarter.
Mollie Rasmussen continued the momentum by starting the second quarter off with a three which sent EHK on a run to put the Spartans up 27-19 halfway through the quarter and forcing a Stanton timeout. Both offenses struggled in the final minutes but Spartans still found themselves up 30-24 at halftime. Alisa Partridge helped the Spartans with 8 first half points while Marleigh Johnson had 10 for the Viqueens.
It was a sloppy start for both teams after halftime as there were multiple turnovers and mental mistakes. Stanton was able to take advantage by chipping away at the lead and eventually tying the game at 36-36 in the final minute. However, a technical foul on Stantons Head Coach sent EHK to the line and they gained a 37-36 lead going into the final frame.
Both teams were playing intense basketball in the fourth quarter, trying to make the most out of every play. Spartans gained a three point lead with four minutes remaining and started to use a time killing offense that forced Stanton to start fouling. EHK kept going to the line while the Viqueens struggled to get anything going on the offensive end. Spartans built up their lead and was able to hold on after the battle 53-43.
Stanton’s excellent season comes to an end as they finish the season 20-3. Marleigh Johnson led the Viqueens with 14 points while Jenna Stephens also helped with 13 points.
EHK-Exira continues their impressive season and improves to 22-0. The Spartans got their offensive spark from Quinn Grubbs with 18 points and Mollie Rasmussen with 10 points. The Spartans move on to the regional finals against Lenox, that game being Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Winterset High School. The Tigers were 52-33 winners over the Savages in the other Region 8 semifinal.
A win by the Spartans will have them at the state tournament for the first time since 2018, when they reached the semifinals.