DES MOINES — An up-and-coming Bedford girls basketball team got a first-hand look at the top tier of Class 1A girls basketball in Iowa, falling 73-37 to No. 1-ranked Newell-Fonda Monday at Wells Fargo Arena.
All-state guard Renee Maneman tied a state tournament record with 13 assists and the Mustangs showed swift ball movement all afternoon with 26 assists on 32 baskets.
Maneman and 6-1 post player Claudia Larsen are both Northwestern College recruits and had outstanding games Monday. Larsen had 16 points and four blocked shots. Maneman finished with 13 points and seven steals to go with her record-tying 13 assists. Hailey Falline also scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Emily Weed led Bedford with 12 points. Fallyn Beemer was 3-of-6 from 3-point range and finished with nine points.
The early going was rough for the Bulldogs (17-8). After Bedford took its only lead of 2-0, the Mustangs went on a quick 12-0 run and finished the quarter in front 18-4.
Bedford didn’t reach double figures until Madison Walston’s putback made it 43-11 with 55 seconds left in the first half.
By halftime Bedford already had 16 turnovers and was just 4-of-25 from the field in trailing the 2013 state runners-up, 44-13.
“I thought early we had some shot opportunities we didn’t get, and they got some second-shot opportunities,” said Bedford coach Kenny Weed, whose team defeated ranked teams Murray and Stanton in the final two regional rounds to reach Des Moines for the fourth time in eight years.
Newell-Fonda’s veteran team plays Bedford’s pressing, fast-break style — at another gear.
“We kind of got ourselves in a hurry and that led to some turnovers,” Weed said. “I thought we were ready for this. Evidently we weren’t.”
Newell-Fonda advances to the semifinals for the seventh time, seeking a fifth chance to play in the finals. The Mustangs have not won a state championship.
“Bedford is a very good ballclub,” Newell-Fonda coach Dick Jungers said. “We just had some things go for us early and often there. I know they missed some easy shots early, and once we got some shots to fall, we were able to take advantage of our press and get some turnovers. Our kids really pass the ball well and find the open shooter.”
Jungers said his defensive priority was to limit the 3-point shooting of Beemer, who got hot against Murray and Stanton in big regional wins. She came into the game averaging 15.2 points per game, ranking third among all 1A players in the state in made 3-pointers (64). At halftime she had managed three points on one triple.
“We were trying to not let her get too many open looks,” Jungers said. “She hit a couple bombers on us. She’s a very nice ballplayer.”
The state’s 35-point mercy rule was enacted early in the fourth period with a running clock after Newell-Fonda went ahead 64-27.
Newell-Fonda (23-2) advances to face fourth-ranked Colo-Nesco (24-1) in a 1A semifinal game at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Colo-Nesco beat Lynnville-Sully in Monday’s opener, 38-34.
It’s not likely Wednesday’s game will be in the 30s. Newell-Fonda boasts the second-highest scoring attack in 1A at 65.9 points per game.
The Mustangs were constantly pushing the ball upcourt with long passes leading to assisted layups against one of the fastest teams in southwest Iowa.
Walston was the lone senior starter all season for Bedford, leading the team with 7.8 rebounds along with 11.7 points per game. Walston was part of the state runner-up team two years ago, but last year’s four leading scorers from a 22-2 team upset by Villisca in the regional final all graduated.
“Maddie did a good job leading this young team all season long,” Weed said. “I’m very proud of all of our seniors.”
Other seniors besides Walston were Loryn Dillon, Kara Jo Streebin and Michaela Mogler.
The matchup exposed some things Bedford needs to improve to fare better on the state tournament stage.
“We have to take care of the ball,” Weed said. “You can’t hurry. We have to be able to penetrate and kick the ball out. And we have to rebound against teams like this.”
Newell-Fonda had a 43-34 rebounding advantage Monday, but the clear difference was in turnovers — 23 to the Mustangs’ 12. Usually a ball-hawking team, Bedford collected only five steals to Newell-Fonda’s 15. Maneman surpassed the Bulldogs by herself with seven thefts.
The four returning starters for Bedford are Beemer, Weed, Callyn Bonde and McKenzie Jackson, all sophomores. The next leading scorer, Palen Stream, is also a sophomore.
Weed said he hopes the game was a learning experience for his youthful group.
“Newell-Fonda had the experience, they’ve been here and they have a lot of seniors,” Weed said. “I feel good that we have a young team. Hopefully this is a stepping stone for us to get back here and move our level of play up.”
NEWELL-FONDA (73) — Hailey Falline 8 0-0 16, Claudia Larsen 7 2-4 16, Renee Maneman 6 1-2 13, Brianna Wells 4 0-0 10, Taiyler Schrank 2 0-0 6, Jordan Wilken 3 0-0 6, Maddi Morenz 1 0-0 3, Mallory Sievers 1 0-0 2, Morgan Magnussen 0 1-2 1. Totals — 32 4-8 73. FG shooting — 32-69 (46.4 percent). 3-point goals — 5-24 (Schrank 2, Wells 2, Morenz 1). Steals — 15 (Maneman 7, Schrank 4). Rebounds — 43 (Maneman 6, Morenz 5, Falline 5). Turnovers — 12. Team fouls — 13. Fouled out — none.
BEDFORD (37) — Emily Weed 4 4-5 12, Fallyn Beemer 3 0-0 9, McKenzie Jackson 3 0-0 6, Madison Walston 1 2-2 4, Kara Jo Streebin 1 0-0 2, Rachel Armstrong 1 0-0 2, Palen Stream 1 0-1 2. Totals — 14 6-8 37. FG shooting — 14-52 (26.9 percent). 3-point goals — 3-10 (Beemer 3). Rebounds — 34 (Walston 7, Armstrong 4). Assists — 5 (Weed 3). Steals — 5 (Beemer 3). Blocked shots — 2 (Walston 2). Turnovers — 23. Team fouls — 12. Fouled out — None.
N-F — 18 44 61 73
Bedford — 4 13 27 37