For the first time since 2001, the Van Meter Bulldogs traveled to Wells Fargo Arena on Monday, Feb. 27 to play in the Class 2A Quarterfinals of the State Basketball Tournament. The Bulldogs took on the Treynor Cardinals.
The Cardinals ended the Bulldogs season with a 60-54 win.
The Bulldogs gained the first possession of the game, but with a few trips up and down the court, Abby Tiarks was the first to score a basket for the Cardinals.
Tiarks also had the first foul of the game that allowed Emily Roberts to score a free throw for the Bulldogs.
Soon after Emily Roberts' free throw, the Bulldogs were ahead 7-2. The Bulldogs lead kept going and the Cardinals didn't gain their third point until Bulldog Chelsea Bright fouled Madelyn Deitchler.
The Bulldogs scored another two field goals before the end of the quarter while Cardinals put up a free throw and a three pointer. The Bulldogs still managed to lead 11-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Deitchler began the second quarter with a field goal for the Cardinals, that put them two points closer to the Bulldogs.
Deitchler was the Cardinals second leading scorer over the Bulldogs. She finished the game with five field goals and five free throws for a total of 15 points. She also led the Cardinals with four steals.
The Cardinals led by one point up until Mackenzie Roberts shot a three pointer and put the Bulldogs back up 14-12.
It didn't take long for the score to tie at 17-17. Deitchler put the Cardinals up two points, once more, with a field goal only to have it followed by a basket from Mackenzie Roberts. They Bulldogs and Cardinals were still tied, 19-19.
Mackenzie's field goal was one of the Bulldogs' last shots for a while, the Cardinals on the other hand, put up seven points. The scoreboard now read 26-19.
The Bulldogs finished the half with a free throw and a three pointer. Mackenzie Roberts shot the three pointer at the buzzer to put the Bulldogs within five points of the Cardinals (29-24).
Mackenzie Roberts was the Bulldogs leading scorer. She finished the game with 20 points after scoring four field goals, three three pointers and three free throws. She also led in rebounds on the night with a total of seven, two offensive and five defensive rebounds.
The Bulldogs began the third quarter with a three pointer made by C.J. Jones.
Unfortunately, Jones' basket was followed by a foul called against the Bulldogs. The foul was called during Konnor Sudmann's shot. Her shot went in as did the free throw she was given.
Sudmann had 18 points for the Cardinals, making her the leading scorer of the night. She made 12 of the 12 free throws she was given along with three field goals. She also had four assists to lead the team.
The Bulldogs were still able to close the gap and soon tied the score at 32-32.
It didn't take long for the Cardinals to gain the lead again, but Bulldog Kelsey Roberts was the one to end the third quarter with a three pointer. The scoreboard now read 44-38, the Cardinals still leading.
The fourth quarter started with a foul called against the Bulldogs that allowed Tiarks to make a free throw.
"I thought foul trouble was a problem for us," said Coach Rick Roberts. "They shot 37 free throws where we shot seven. That's a big difference a game."
When on offense next, Bailey Junge made a three pointer that put the Bulldogs within four points again (45-41).
After a few more trips up and down the court the Bulldogs were following the Cardinals by only two points, until Emily Roberts made a three pointer. The Bulldogs were now up 50-49. This lead was short-lived as the Cardinals earned five more points that put them up four.
Emily Roberts was the second leading scorer for the Bulldogs with a total of 11 points. She made two field goals, two three pointers and one free throw. Emily also led in assists and steals with three each.
Mackenzie Roberts made two free throws to close the gap, but with a shot-foul combination called against her on the next defensive possession, the two points only helped so much.
Mackenzie had fouled Tiarks while she shot a field goal, the Cardinal then made her one free throw. The Cardinals were up five (57-52).
The Cardinals scored another three points before the game ended while the Bulldogs only made two. The game ended with the Cardinals winning 60-54.
"We are very proud of the girls efforts all season," said Roberts. "I thought we played well and gave great effort. I really liked our focus, we really were mentally tough throughout. I'm really happy for our seniors. Bailey Junge, Chelsea Bright, Ellie Folkerts, Mackenzie Roberts, Emma Durflinger and CJ Jones. They have had a great careers and accomplished a lot."
The Cardinals continue their undefeated season (26-0) into the semifinal round. The Bulldogs ended their season with a 21-4 record.