When freshman Karly Brown found bare real estate on the Red Oak side of the net, the Lewis Central Titans took a commanding 17-5 lead in the second set against its Hawkeye 10 rival Tuesday night. At that point — already down a set — it looked like it was going to be a quick night of volleyball.

The senior is averaging 9.5 points per game, third on the team. The Tigers are 3-1, including a 30-point victory over Atlantic and a 20-point win against Council Bluffs St. Albert.

Sierra Athen doesn’t take days off from volleyball. Any court absence of more than a few hours leaves her wondering what has gone wrong. The Red Oak junior expects the next couple weeks to be especially challenging in that regard.

The lineup was a little different. The results were a little better. In the last two weeks, the Treynor volleyball team couldn’t finish in any of its four matches that went to a decisive final set. The Cardinals had too much talent, their coaches believed, to keep faltering in the big moments.

Finalists previously announced for The World-Herald’s honor were Kate Walker of Red Oak, Serena Parker of Shenandoah, Natalie Mostek of Creston, Jess Schaben of Harlan, Rebekah Topham of Griswold, Jay Wolfe of Creston, Austin Simmons of Council Bluffs Lewis Central, Chase Shiltz of Creston, Korey Kuhlmann of Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto and Daniel Tillo of Sioux City North. Winners will be chosen among the six girls and six boys finalists.

The seventh-rated Cubs combined the inside strength of Lexy Koudelka and Kati Cassabaum with the 5-of-6 3-point shooting of Claire Ausman for a convincing 54-38 victory over No. 9 Red Oak Tuesday in a Class 3-A state basketball quarterfinal.

Red Oak lost to Carroll Kuemper in the regular season on a buzzer-beating layup, and the regional final matchup between the two Hawkeye Ten Conference rivals was not void of drama, either.

Things weren’t looking good for Red Oak’s girls basketball team in the second half Wednesday night. The state No. 9 Tigers trailed No. 10 Shenandoah by eight points in their Class 3-A regional semifinal. But when Kate Walker’s on your team, there’s always a chance.

The question posed to Harlan coach Zach Klaassen was serious: Do you ever feel bad for your players and fans that they aren’t able to play in more competitive games?