Harlan Wins Opening Round Girls Game at State


February 27th, 2013 by Jim Field

Eighth-ranked Harlan began the Class 4A tournament with a come-from-behind victory over No. 3 Benton in a game that featured strong play on both sides.

Elle Kloewer scored 11 points and came up with three steals late in the game as the Cyclones won 52-42 to advance to the semifinals. Liz Riessen and 6-foot-1 sophomore Jess Schaben added 10 points for Harlan and Josie Esser scored nine.

Riessen grabbed eight rebounds, while Schaben, who has a promising career in both basketball and volleyball, pulled down six rebounds and made two steals.

Northern Iowa recruit Madison Weekly scored 11 points in her final game for Benton, adding five assists and five rebounds.

With crisp passing that led to layups or open jump shots, Benton scored the final 12 points of the first quarter to erase a 9-2 Harlan lead. The Bobcats stretched their lead to 18-12 before Harlan came back.

Riessen’s 3-pointer just ahead of the halftime buzzer tied the game at 22. Kloewer, a 5-8 sophomore, then showed her versatility at the start of the second half, posting up for a basket and knocking down a 3-pointer to put the Cyclones ahead 27-22. They led from then on but had to fight off the Bobcats almost the entire way to the end.

Benton drew to 41-40 on Sara Petrzelka’s two free throws with 3:42 left, but the Bobcats didn’t score again until 23.1 seconds remained and Harlan wrapped up the victory by making 11 of 14 free throws. Kloewer stymied Benton and created opportunities for her teammates by stealing the ball three times in the final 2:48.

Harlan, in the tournament for the 10th time, advances to a semifinal at 6:45 Thursday night with a 22-2 record. Benton finishes 21-3.