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MVP rally runs out of steam against No. 1 West Central

Mount Vernon/Plankinton senior Mikaela Cassidy (10) splits West Central defenders Bailey Nester (4) and Cassidy Siemonsma (22) during a Class A state quarterfinal game on Thursday at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

SIOUX FALLS -- Eighth-seeded Mount Vernon/Plankinton threw seeds out the window in its Class A girls basketball state quarterfinal against No. 1 West Central on Thursday at the Premier Center.

The Titans pushed the unbeaten Trojans throughout the first quarter before falling behind by double-digits in the second. Still, MVP refused to go quietly, regrouping in the fourth quarter to outscore West Central, 13-4, to make a run at the upset.

Despite winning the rebounding battle 42-29, the Titans did not have enough left in the tank to cap the rally and an 11-for-24 night at the free-throw line resulting in a 50-46 loss and a date with No. 5 St. Thomas More in the consolation bracket at 11 a.m. today at Sioux Falls Arena.

“West Central shot the ball really well -- they’re the No. 1 seed for a reason,” MVP head coach Preston Kristensen said. “I thought our girls came out aggressive in the second half and they competed. I felt like we were within five forever and we couldn’t get a bucket.”

MVP (17-7) stormed out of the gates and led by five in the opening frame, sparked by 10 first-quarter points from Katlyn Briggs.

West Central (23-0) opted to switch to a full-court press toward the end of the quarter and it resulted in a 13-0 run to take the lead. The Titans were able to pull within three points on an Emilee Fox 3-pointer, but the Trojans rebounded to score the next seven to head into halftime up 31-21.

“We expected pressure from them coming in,” Kristensen said. “We had to overcome some turnovers, but they hit a lot of timely shots, too. We tried to cover them up, but they have some players that can shoot.”

The two teams put forth an evenly played third quarter, but MVP still trailed by 13 heading into the final 8 minutes by converting open shots and getting to the line.

Briggs, who battled foul trouble toward the end of the second quarter, came back to score nine points in the second half, finishing with a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds.

“She’s good,” West Central head coach Joe Caffrey said, of Briggs. “She’s strong and she’s a good player. She drew a lot of attention from us tonight. That opens up other things for teams when you’re sending a lot of help to the block.”

Mikaela Cassidy added 12 points for MVP. Josslin Jarding scored 18 points -- including 4 of 6 from 3-point range -- to lead West Central, which plays No. 4 Lennox in the semifinals at 3 p.m. today at the Premier Center.

West Central 50, Mount Vernon/Plankinton 46

Mount Vernon/Plankinton (17-7): Katlyn Briggs 7-14 5-8 19, Mikaela Cassidy 4-7 3-4 12, Emilee Fox 2-7 0-2 6, Dacey Rihanek 2-3 2-2 6, Hailey Walz 1-10 0-6 2, Maria Baker 0-2 0-0 0, Reagan Klooz 0-0 1-2 1, Hallie Schmidt 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 11-24 46.

West Central (23-0): Rachel Eickman 2-7 0-0 4, Megan Madsen 2-7 2-4 7, Kali Nelson 2-3 1-1 5, Bailey Nester 0-5 0-0 0, Cassidy Siemonsma 2-7 0-0 4, Rylee Haldeman 3-9 2-4 10, Josslin Jarding 6-9 2-2 18, Addy Kramer 0-1 0-0 0, Cheyanne Masterson 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 18-52 7-11 50.

MVP 16 21 33 46

WC 19 31 46 50

3-point field goals: MVP 3-11 (Fox 2-4, Cassidy 1-1, Briggs 0-1, Schmidt 0-1, Walz 0-4), WC 7-20 (Jarding 4-6, Haldeman 2-3, Madsen 1-5, Siemonsma 0-1, Nester 0-2, Eickman 0-3). Fouled out: Siemonsma. Rebounds: MVP 42 (Briggs 8), WC 29 (Siemonsma 9). Assists: MVP 11 (Fox 3, Walz 3), WC 13 (Nester 3, Haldeman 3). Blocked shots: MVP 0, WC 7 (Siemonsma 6). Steals: MVP 8 (Rihanek 4), WC 8 (Haldeman 2, Jarding 2). Turnovers: MVP 18, WC 13. Total fouls: MVP 13, WC 18.