DIAGONAL – The Diagonal girls moved on in the Class 1A Region 6 bracket, taking down Essex in a 53-30 contest Thursday.
Diagonal’s win will push it deeper into the playoffs, next hosting Murray Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
“We saw Murray on Monday,” said head coach Gina Warren. “They beat us by 20. Priorities were not being taken when we were playing the last couple of games. We’ve had to fine tune that.”
Murray, fresh off a 44-43 win over over Stanton (see accompanying recap), beat Diagonal 48-26. Emily Newton led the Maroonettes with 10 points in the loss.
“Hopefully we’ll focus (on priorities) going into that game,” said Warren.
The Maroonettes pulled ahead early despite both sides starting slow out of the gate in the scoring column. With a 10-2 lead entering the second quarter, the Maroonettes offense came alive to pull ahead 28-8 at the end of the first half.
Diagonal dominated Essex in the paint, getting multiple offensive rebounds for second chance scores.
Newton took her time getting into the scorebook, grabbing three scores from the post, including a putback score just before the halftime horn.
Newton scored 17 points in the contest, tied with her teammate Erin Sobotka for the high in the game.
Sobotka’s 17 points came off a night where she was all over the court not only on offense, but on the defensive end as well.
“All year Erin has been that (all over the court)” said Warren. “She’s needed to fine tune it so she knows how to do that effectively. She’s kind of lost it through the second half of the season, so now going into tournament play I hope she’s understanding and I think tonight it showed of where she’s going to be helping us.”
The second half saw the Maroonettes pull away, continuing to exploit Essex under the basket for scores.
Essex was able to put together scores early in the third quarter, but a 9-0 run for Diagonal pulled it comfortably ahead 39-14.
The Maroonettes got late points from Sofia Cifarelli and Abby Woodruff to capped off the biggest Maroonettes win since their 62-35 win over Ankeny Christian Academy Jan. 4.
As Diagonal gets ready for round two of playoff basketball, Warren knows how important upperclassmen are at this point of the season.
“They have the most experience and they want it probably more than the others,” said Warren. “Because they know that when that buzzer goes off and they’re not ahead, that’s it. It’s very important and I think the younger girls know that and feel it too and want it more for them.”
ESSEX (30) — 2 6 8 14
DIAG (53) — 10 18 13 12
ESSEX (FG FT PTS) — Totals — 12 2-4 30. Jessie Jones 5 0-0 12, Helen Nicholas 3 0-0 6, Jorianna Mosely 3 0-0 6, Sarah Madsen 1 0-0 2, Samantha York 1 0-2 2, Elise Dailey 0 2-2 2. 3-point goals – 2 (Jones 2). Team fouls — 11. Fouled out — none.
DIAGONAL (FG FT PTS) — Totals — 21 7-12 53. Erin Sobotka 6 2-2 17, Emily Newton 6 4-4 17, Bailey Taylor 5 1-6 11, Kerrigan Mobley 2 0-0 4, Sofia Cifarelli 1 0-0 2, Emma Woodruff 1 0-0 2. 3-point goals – 4 (Sobotka 3, Newton 1). Team fouls — 8. Fouled out — none.