Dragons fall to the Maroons in regional final

Anne Rogers, Sports Editor

The girls’ basketball team ended their season, losing 38-35 to Dowling Catholic High School in the Class 5-A regional final at Urbandale Feb. 25. Freshman Elle Brown was the top scorer with nine points, senior Bri Handel was not far behind. Head coach Chad Jilek was impressed with Handel’s performance.

“(She) played one of her best games as a Dragon scoring 8 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and blocking 3 shots,” Jilek said. “She didn’t want this to be her last game and she played like it.”

Senior Taylor Joens reflected on the game, seeing both the good and the bad. “We stayed calm throughout the game and didn’t get worked up when we were behind,” Joens said. “Our defense was outstanding and we shut down some of their key players, and we also handled the pressure from Dowling and their press really well.”

Joens was  disappointed with the amount of turnovers the team had. “Along with bad passes was the fact that we tried to force the ball into the post too much,” Joens said. “Dowling always double teamed our posts and rather than driving to the basket we forced the ball inside too much.”

Jilek is already looking forward to next season, returning 12 players, including six freshman. “It was a great experience for our young players to get to play in an atmosphere like that,” Jilek said. “I think it will definitely give them the motivation this off season to put in the work to get better.”

He and the coaching staff want a conference championship and an appearance in the state tournament next year. “We know how much work it will take to get there and I know the players will embrace that challenge,” Jilek said.