DENISON, Iowa — Having played every second of the first 39 minutes of Friday’s Class 2-A, Region 8 semifinal, IKM-Manning senior guard Kia Rasmussen stepped to the free throw line for two shots with her team trailing 59-57 in double overtime.
Rasmussen nailed both shots in that trip and two more free throws with nine seconds remaining to give the 14th-ranked Wolves a 61-59 win after Kylie Morrison’s runner went in-and-out of the basket and into Rasmussen’s hands.
“I was a little tired and my legs were cramping a little bit,” said Rasmussen, who scored a game-high 18 points in the contest. “I wasn’t nervous at all, though, and knew I was going to knock them down.”
The game was a rubber match between two conference opponents, who had each won on their home floor in the regular season. This game was played on a neutral floor, despite the higher seed hosting in many games throughout the state.
“It was two really great teams going at each other and I knew it was going to be a battle,” said IKM-Manning coach Gene Rasmussen, whose team improved to 17-4. “I am just glad we came out on top this time.”
When asked why the game was not played at the home of the fifth-ranked Panthers (19-4), who were the higher seed, Logan-Magnolia coach Derek Sonderland said he was not given a concrete answer.
“I think it came down to that they thought the facilities at Logan-Magnolia were good enough,” Sonderland said. “When you have to come to Denison and play in IKM-Manning’s back yard, it’s tough, but you saw some great resiliency from our team and it starts with our seniors who have laid a foundation.”
Logan-Magnolia led 17-11 after one period, going on a 10-2 run late in the quarter. IKM-Manning, who trailed by as many as eight in the opening half, pulled within 25-23 just before the break as Peyton Gross scored 10 of her 17 points in the second quarter.
Alexis Fender, however, sent the Panthers to the locker room with a five-point lead with a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
“We did a good job of weathering the storm tonight,” coach Rasmussen said. “Peyton Gross did a great job in the first half and Payton Sporrer knocked down a couple of 3s for us.”
Trailing 30-23 early in the third quarter, Sporrer knocked down her second trey of the game and the season to spark the Wolves, who finished the quarter with a 17-4 spurt.The Panthers then flipped the momentum early in the fourth when sophomore Violet Lapke stuck two 3s and Kylie Morrison added five points of her own to tie the game at 46.
Kia Rasmussen and Delaney Ettleman traded baskets before Sporrer scored on consecutive possessions to give the Wolves a 52-50 lead.
IKM-Manning got a stop and was trying to run out the clock when Morrison stole an inbounds pass and tied the game with a layup with 13 seconds remaining. Rasmussen’s runner missed and the game headed to overtime.
After Gabby Cadwell hit a pair of free throws in the first overtime, Kylan Straight hit a 3 to make it 56-55. Gross split a pair of free throws before Cunard drew a foul on a runner with eight seconds left. She sank both shots and the Wolves did not get a shot off before the horn.
“Our kids showed a lot of character and passion for the game tonight,” Sonderland said. “They had several possessions where I thought they had it won, but our kids kept fighting and left everything single thing we had on the floor tonight.”
Morrison, who led the Panthers with 14 points, put her team ahead with a bucket midway through the second overtime, but IKM-Manning was able to shut down its opponent the rest of the way to give Rasmussen a chance for her heroics.
“She did a phenomenal job and I am proud of her and proud of all of the girls,” coach Rasmussen said. “We really had to dig down deep, especially going into the second overtime.”
The Wolves will meet Class 2-A No. 11 West Sioux in a regional final Monday in Mapleton.
Kia Rasmussen said her team will be ready to go despite having to go the extra mile — and then some — against the Panthers.
“We all just did not want to lose and fought with everything we had until the end,” she said.
IKM-Manning (17-4).....11 12 17 12 5 4 – 61
Logan-Magnolia (19-4).....17 11 7 17 5 2 – 59
IKM: Payton Sporrer 10, Kia Rasmussen 18, Shauna Reitan 5, Gabby Cadwell 2, Peyton Gross 17, Alexa Ahrenholtz 3, Caitlin Muhlbauer 6.
LM: Alexis Fender 6, Kylan Straight 13, Kylie Morrison 14, Kenzie Cunard 10, Delaney Ettleman 5, Violet Lapke 9, Shya Deakins 2.