DENISON, Iowa — Three nights after knocking off defending state champion Glenwood, Creston was looking to play spoiler again at Denison-Schleswig on Thursday.
The third-seeded Monarchs (18-4) were able to crank up their pressure defense, though, and go on a 15-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to take down the seventh-seeded Panthers (10-13) in a 47-43 Class 3-A, Substate 8 semifinal victory.
Before the spurt, the game featured five ties and 11 lead changes.
Denison-Schleswig advanced to face Winterset for a trip to the state tournament in a substate final Monday in Atlantic. The Huskies knocked off top-seeded Carroll 55-48 for the second time in the Tigers’ gymnasium Thursday.
“Credit to them because they got the game at the pace they wanted, but also credit to our kids because we won playing their style,” Denison-Schleswig coach Derek Fink said. “Our defense is not pretty, but it was effective and we got enough turnovers to recover for how poorly we shot tonight.”
Creston started out patient against a 2-3 zone. Goanar Biliew, who averages a double-double and finished with eight points and 14 rebounds, led Denison-Schleswig to a 9-5 lead in the first quarter. But the tide turned at the beginning of the second quarter.
Kylan Smallwood scored five of the nine points in a 9-0 run as Creston took a 14-9 lead. The Monarchs, however, were able to battle back for a 19-19 tie at halftime with a pair of steals that led to layups by Austin Korner. Korner scored eight of his 12 points in the second period.
As the seesaw battle continued after halftime, Smallwood and Brance Baker knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to give Creston its biggest lead at 27-23 midway through the third quarter. Charlie Wiebers put Denison-Schleswig ahead 31-29 heading to the fourth with a layup and a pair of free throws .
Denison-Schleswig then scored the first seven points of the final quarter as a part of its decisive run to go in front 38-29.
During the stretch, Korner hit three free throws late to close out the game.
Wiebers led the Monarchs with 14 points while Smallwood scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his final high school game .
“Our guys did an awesome job to hold them to 47 points,” Creston coach Bryce Schafer said. “We just didn’t make enough shots.”
Creston (10-13).....................9 10 10 14—43
At Denison-Schleswig (18-4)....9 10 12 16—47
C: Brance Baker 13, Kylan Smallwood 23, Cael Kralik 2, Colby Burg 3, Payton Pryor 2.
D: Jack Mendlik 7, Charlie Wiebers 14, Dawson Dorhout 6, Austin Korner 12, Goanar Biliew 8.
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