It was perhaps their closest contest yet in the 2019-20 season and thanks to some late-game heroics, the Van Meter girls basketball team walked away with a razor-thin victory Monday night.

The Bulldogs were at home hosting non-conference foe Grand View Christian and after a crazy finish, walked away victoriously by a 40-39 margin. It was a game that pretty much had it all with strong offense and defense yet offensive struggles were had for both teams on both sides of the ball. Regardless of how they got there, it was a strong win for the Bulldogs and a win that went further than just a knock in the win column.

“It was good for our girls to be part of a game like this,” began head coach Jay Olson. “We really showed a lot of grit and what we are capable of in tight situations.”

It also continued to highlight the theme for Van Meter girls basketball which is late game heroes. Of the ten games played so far this season, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents in the second half in seven of those games. On Monday, that helped the Bulldogs overcome a wild first half which started off with a 12-0 Bulldog run in the first quarter which then turned into 17 unanswered points by Grand View Christian to close out the first quarter. Quarter two was where fans of defense were really happy with just four points scored by both teams, leaving the visiting Thunder with a five-point lead at the halftime break.

Then as Van Meter tends to do, they broke out of the second half gates extremely strong, going on a 14-6 run to wrap up the third quarter of action. Things did start to get dicey in the fourth quarter, but thanks to a whole team full of production, Van Meter walked away with their sixth overall victory of the campaign.

“Tonight, everyone really stepped up to the plate and had a strong game,” started coach Olson. “This team has grit and is always having fun playing with each other and you could see that on the court tonight.”

Another part of the second-half surge for Van Meter was their clean work with the ball, suffering just two second-half turnovers compared to the ten first-half turnovers. The pick-pocket side of the Bulldogs also came out strong and helped mitigate the turnovers suffered by Van Meter. The Bulldogs ended the night with eight steals for the contest, four of which came from junior star Josie Durflinger with four steals to go along with four assists and a pair of rebounds.

The offensive leader for the Bulldogs was senior Clair Lauterbach who posted 18 points on the night thanks to 6-of-18 shooting from field goal range, 3-of-13 from three, all while shooting 75 percent from the free-throw line. Jorja Hanselman and Natalie Barth did the dirty work off the glass as Barth hauled in a team-best eight rebounds on the night with five more coming from Hanselman.

The overall win boosts the Bulldog record up to 6-4 on the season and gives them a boost following their defeat to Des Moines Christian in the previous contest. Next up on the docket for the Bulldogs will be road contest tonight, pinning them up against the Roadrunners of Interstate-35. That contest will kick off game one of the girl/boy doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.