Cougars end season in Class 1A quarters

AGWSR senior Mandy Willems inadvertently dribbles the ball of her foot while being guarded by Exira/EHK's Sophia Peppers, losing the ball out of bounds in the second half on Wednesday, Feb. 28. (Kristi Nixon/Hampton Chronicle)

DES MOINES -- AGWSR fell victim to foul trouble and the slow-down game by Exira-EHK late in falling 57-47 in the Class 1A state quarterinal on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Exira/EHK's Sophia Peppers was 14-of-16 from the free throw line, much of her foul shots coming late as the Spartans pulled away in what was a close game until the final few minutes.

"I thought we played well for three and a half quarters," AGWSR coach Laurie Gann said. "We had a span there where we had a little fatigue set in, made some mistakes. Granted, we had too much of Peppers. She had a whale of a ball game and we didn't always have the answer for her."

Peppers led all scorers with 24 points.

The Cougars were led by Mandy Willems with 14 points after scoring just five at the half. The NIACC commit was glad to get a taste of state tournament play even though it wasn't the outcome she wanted.

"We knew it would be close," Willems said. "We struggled with turnovers early on, but as time went on, we adjusted to the environment and the flow of the game.

"It's great (playing here). It's where everyone wants to end up, I'm really fortunate to say I made it here. It's not exactly how I wanted it to end, but I'm really grateful for the chance of playing here."

The full story will appear in the March 7 print and online editions of the Hampton Chronicle.