For the second consecutive year, West Liberty’s bid to get to the Class 3A Girls State basketball Tournament fell short, this time to the hands of West Burlington Saturday, falling 47-45, in a heartbreaker in Wapello.
After a dominate win over Centerville days earlier, the Comets were looking to replicate that success headed into the Region 8 finals in taking on a talented West Burlington team, who entered the contest 20-1 and the top seed in the Regional bracket.
All went to plan for the Comets as they jumped ahead early to capture the lead and maintained a winning margin throughout the quarter, finishing up by five, 16-11.
The Comet defense stepped up in the second period holding the potent Falcon attack to just seven points and securing a 27-18 lead heading into the locker room.
The Falcons offense couldn’t stay contained forever, as they broke through the Comet defense outscoring the Comets 13-4 in the third period to tie the game up at 31 a piece.
The game came down to a thrilling fourth quarter, both teams bending but neither broke, keeping the game within two possessions throughout the entirety of the final period.
The Comets surged back from being down six in the final minute of the ball game, tying the game up at 45 all before the Falcons broke through the Comet defense and took the lead with just five seconds left on the clock. Having to go the full length of the court, the Comets were unable to get the final shot to fall and fell in the Regional final, 47-45, in front of a packed gymnasium.
Junior center Macy Daufeldt led the Comets in their final outing with 18 points while also collecting five rebounds and as many steals. Sophomore Finley Hall trailed her with 10 points while picking up six assists, two rebounds and a pair of steals. Sailor Hall hit nine points while collecting six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.
In their final outing as Comets, Janey Gingerich scored six and Averi Goodale hit two. Gingerich also had 10 rebounds, two blocks and as many steals while Goodale had four rebounds and a block. Martha Pace ended her senior campaign with two rebounds and an assist in the loss.
The Comets graduate four players, including two starters, but return all three of their leading scorers. That accompanied with high impact minutes from returning bench players will keep the Comets competitive in the next season.
The Comets ended their season 16-6 overall with a 13-4 River Valley Conference record.