Senior Alex Mohr powers Denison-Schleswig past Glenwood, to Iowa state tournament

Senior Alex Mohr powers Denison-Schleswig past Glenwood, to Iowa state tournament
Denison-Schleswig's Vanessa Gunderson shows off the team's regional championship banner. TODD DANNER/WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE

DENISON, Iowa — Twice in softball and twice in basketball during her brilliant career, Denison-Schleswig senior Alex Mohr had reached a regional final and gone home bitterly disappointed.

All of those pent-up frustrations were released in one glorious night for the Monarchs.

The 5-foot-3 Mohr finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals, masterfully directing Class 4-A No. 8 Denison to a 73-63 victory over No. 13 Glenwood Wednesday in the Region 2 final before a large crowd at Denison-Schleswig High School.

“That tops everything in my career so far,’’ said Mohr, a five-sport athlete and The World-Herald’s western Iowa female athlete of the year as a sophomore. “I can’t even describe it. I’m just speechless right now.’’

The Monarchs (20-2) earned their seventh trip to state and first in 14 years. They are the seventh seed and will play second-rated, second-seeded North Scott (19-3) in a state quarterfinal at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday in Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena.

Glenwood, which was just 8-15 last season, closed at 18-5 as perhaps southwest Iowa’s most improved team under first-year coach Brian Rasmussen. The Rams were seeking their third state trip (1979, 2012).

“It took about half a season to really know where we were at,’’ he said. “The chemistry that they started to have and the trust and confidence that they had in one another was amazing.’’

Twelve nights earlier, Glenwood had rallied from 10 down in the final 3:19 to beat Denison 73-68 in overtime. Sure enough on Wednesday, the Rams sliced an 18-point deficit with 6:35 remaining down to 60-54 with 2:45 left on Brooklyn Taylor’s two free throws.

“It looked similar to that,’’ Denison coach Adam Mich said.

This time, Denison showed more poise. Mohr, an all-state catcher, fired a full-court softball pass to Sarah Heilesen for a layup. Mohr added two free throws for a 10-point lead with 1:55 left.

Glenwood got no closer than eight the rest of the way, as Mohr made 8 of 10 from the line in the fourth quarter.

“Who else do you want at the line besides Alex?’’ Mich said. “She’s been such a driving force for us for four years.’’

Six-foot sophomore Hannah Neemann led Denison with 23 points to go with five rebounds. In the third quarter, she made 3 of 3 from 3-point range. Heilesen added 14 points and Paige Andersen had 13, with both grabbing five rebounds.

“At the beginning of the season we said, ‘We’ve got to be mentally tough enough to finish things down the stretch,’’’ Mich said. “Some of these close games, we just haven’t been able to finish them.’’

Mohr said Glenwood’s comeback win over her team late in the regular season had a positive effect.

“I think it actually kind of helped us going into postseason,’’ she said. “It pushed us more. It made us more hungry.’’

Glenwood had also rallied from 26 down to beat Shenandoah during the regular season.

“Not one of these kids at any time gave up or believed that we weren’t going to come back,’’ Rasmussen said. “That is what’s been instilled. They thought we were going to do it, and gosh darn it, we almost did.’’

Freshman Madison Camden led Glenwood with 25 points and six rebounds, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Sophomore Elle Scarborough added 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Rams graduate seniors Brielle Smith, Taylor, Danielle Hardcastle and Sydney Biermann.

“The leadership that we lose with the seniors that we have is tremendous,’’ Rasmussen said. “They have built a culture that’s going to carry on with this younger group. I don’t know that we’d be the same team next year or in years future without the senior class that we had this year.’’

Glenwood (18-5)……………….14 7 13 29 – 63

Denison-Schleswig (20-2)……..19 12 19 23 – 73

G: Brielle Smith 1-8 4-4 6, Brooklyn Taylor 2-4 2-2 6, Madison Camden 9-17 2-4 25, Elle Scarborough 5-14 0-0 13, Joslyn Lewis 1-6 0-0 2, Abby Hughes 0-2 0-0 0, Danielle Hardcastle 1-5 1-3 3, Brynlee Arnold 0-3 3-4 3, Coryl Matheny 1-1 3-6 5, Emma Hughes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-60 15-23 63.

D: Raegan Andersen 0-1 0-0 0, Sarah Heilesen 4-5 6-9 14, Paige Andersen 6-7 1-1 13, Alex Mohr 3-11 12-14 19, Hannah Neemann 8-10 4-6 23, Vanessa Gunderson 1-3 0-2 2, Ellie Magnuson 1-3 0-0 2, Mikayla Rauch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-40 23-32 73.

3-point goals: G 8-32 (Camden 5-10, Scarborough 3-9, A. Hughes 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Smith 0-3, Arnold 0-3, Lewis 0-5); D 4-9 (Neemann 3-3, Mohr 1-4, Magnuson 0-2). Total fouls: G 23, D 15. Fouled out: Smith, Taylor. Technical fouls: none. Rebounds: G 29 (Scarborough 8), D 37 (Mohr 8). Assists: G 7 (Hardcastle, Scarborough 2), D 14 (Mohr 6). Steals: G 12 (Smith 5), D 10 (Mohr 4). Turnovers: G 16, D 26.

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