TRIPOLI — The Wapsie Valley Warrior girls fell 49-57 to the Tripoli Panthers in their Class 1A regional basketball opener on Thursday.
The Warriors trailed the host Panthers by 3 after the first quarter and four at the half. Tripoli picked up steam in the third, outpacing the Warriors by 9 for a 13-point lead, and while Wapsie closed that gap to 5 in the fourth, it was 9 fewer than needed for a win.
Kaci Beesecker led Warrior scoring with 15, followed by Anna Richards with 9, Melody Kayser with 8, Ellie Neil and Mary Bodensteiner with 6 apiece, and Lydia Imbrogno with 4.
“Offensively we got some shots that we wanted to get, we just didn’t make them,” Wapsie Valley head coach Justin Davie said. “But all game we played hard, hung in there, kept making runs to keep ourselves in the game.
Tripoli’s run at the end of the third quarter pushed its lead to 13, “and that was a little bit too much of a deficit for us to overcome,” he said.
“We played hard, didn’t execute the greatest but found a way to hang around. It was a good team,” he said.
Davie said he will miss the seniors, but the future looks bright.
“We had a lot of young girls this year. If they’re motivated to get in the gym and improve their game, I think we could take a big jump.”
On the Tripoli side, Zoe Semelroth led scoring with 23, followed by Taylor Flaig with 11, Ellie Steere with 8 and Olivia Miller with 7. Peyton Franzen and Haileigh Halverson each chipped in 3 and Marina Biermann added 2.
“Our defense was overall OK,” Panthers coach Erica Ollendieck said. “I think we executed when we needed to on offense ... got the ball to the right people at the right time, especially toward the end of the game.
“Zoe Semelroth executed for us really well, finished with 23 tonight. Overall, as a team, we played solidly.”
As they continue, she will continue to push them on defense: “[We] have to identify who we’re going to guard a little more tight, I know they have some three-point shooters, definitely work on taking care of the ball and some of the fundamentals.”
Wapsie Valley’s Bodensteiner and Tripoli’s Semelroth each fouled out in the fourth quarter.
“Taylor Flaig played really well down low, Olivia Miller handled the ball really well for us and put some points on the board,” Ollendieck said. “And Ellie Steere played phenomenal defense. The girls that came in off the bench got in and did their job, so I’m proud of that.”
Wapsie Valley’s season ends. Tripoli will travel to Elkader on Tuesday, Feb. 18, to take on Central Elkader at 7 p.m. at Central Elkader Junior-Senior High in round two of regional play.
SCORING BY QUARTER
WV 11 14 10 14 — 49
TR 14 15 19 9 — 57