By Aaron Kirchoff Rushville Republican
---- — JASPER – If anyone in the Jasper gymnasium was unsure if the No. 2 Evansville Mater Dei Lady Wildcats were for real, there was little doubt as the fans left the building. Behind the 1-2 punch of IU bound Maura Muensterman and junior Tori Schickel, the Lady Wildcats ended the No. 4 Lady Lions’ season 62-34.
The two-time defending Class 2A state champs, forced to move to Class 3A this year due to that success in previous years, advanced to take on No. 7 Madison in the regional final. Madison defeated Southridge 66-51 in the first semifinal.
The Lady Lions end the season at 19-5.
Muensterman and Schickel got things going for Mater Dei, combining to go 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the first minute of the contest. Schickel scored in the paint to make it 6-0 before Kelsi Ash hit from behind the arc to cut the lead in half at 6-3. Muensterman answered on the other end before Kaitlyn Howe scored her first two for the Lady Lions.
Later in the first quarter, Rushville cut the deficit to 10-7 as Casey Yager hit the jumper. A bucket by Mater Dei’s Ali Spahn gave the Lady Wildcats a 12-7 lead after one quarter.
The middle two quarters is where the Lady Wildcats put distance between themselves and the Lady Lions. Schickel and Julie Kelley scored to open the second quarter and Rushville head coach Melissa Marlow called a time out to slow the Lady Wildcats. Mackenzie Campbell scored out of the break, but Muensterman drained a 3-pointer from the right side to extend the lead to 19-9. After a bucket by Campbell on the other end, Muensterman hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to double-up the Lady Lions 22-11. With the lead at 26-13, Howe hit from beyond the arc to cut the deficit to 10, but two Schickel free throws closed the half with Mater Dei leading 28-16.
Rushville got a good start to the third as Howe connected on her second triple to get the deficit back under double digits. Back-to-back buckets by the dynamic pair of Schickel and Muensterman pushed the lead to 32-19.
Keragan Niehoff scored in the lane for her first two of the ball game, but Muensterman answered with another triple on the end. Campbell scored for the Lady Lions, but again, Muensterman had an answer and it was another bomb.
Following a bucket by Mater Dei’s Katelyn Bueltel and a Rushville time-out, Muensterman drained another triple as the lead grew to 43-23. Campbell dialed long distance and connected for three, but six straight points from Schickel had the Lady Wildcats up 49-26 late in the third.
A bucket by Campbell and one by Mater Dei’s Meredith Daunhauer made it 51-28 after three quarters.
Mater Dei did not let up or give any hope to the Lady Lions as the Lady Wildcats scored the first five points of the fourth to lead 56-28.Rushville scored just six points in the final eight minutes – two by Niehoff and four by Campbell as the Lady Wildcats put the semifinal game away 62-34.
Schickel led all scorers with 25 points. Muensterman added 21. Campbell led the Lady Lions with 15 points followed by Howe with eight.
In the title game, Mater Dei overcame a 7-point deficit with a 23-0 run to claim the regional crown by knocking off Madison 54-45.
Mater Dei 62, Rushville 34
Scoring: Mater Dei – Muensterman 2 5 2-3 21, Schickel 10 0 5-6 25, Ubelhor 0 0 1-4 1, Ali Spahn 1 0 0-0 2, Kelley 2 0 0-0 4, Bueltel 2 0 0-0 4, Daunhauer 1 0 0-0 2, Ash. Spahn 0 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 6 8-13 62.
Rushville– Ash 0 1 0-0 3, Howe 1 2 0-0 8, Yager 2 0 0-0 4, Campbell 5 1 2-2 15, Niehoff 2 0 0-0 4. Totals 10 4 2-2 34.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114