By Pat Harty
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Those who watch the top-ranked Regina girls basketball team play on a regular basis have come to expect dominance and lopsided scores.
But even the regulars were impressed by the level at which Regina performed on Tuesday while dismantling Tipton 80-40 in a Class 2A Regional quarterfinal at Regina.
The Regals bolted to a 25-2 lead in the first quarter and never were pushed. The lead swelled to 57-19 at halftime, causing some of the Regina faithful to shake their heads in amazement and say wow.
Regina coach Jeff Wallace demands excellence from his players and they certainly delivered on both ends of the floor.
Regina forced 21 turnovers in the first quarter and made 22-of-36 field-goal attempts in the first half.
“I thought this is probably the most dialed and focused we’ve been all year and that’s saying a lot because we’ve had some really good, dominating performances,” Wallace said. “But that first quarter, the way we came out and how we were talking and communicating and the effort and the deflections we were getting.
“We wanted to send a message in that first four minutes that we were going to come out here and were ready to play because they kind of took it to us in the first half a week ago. So it kind of woke our kids up a little bit.”
Wallace was referring to Regina’s 76-44 victory over Tipton last Tuesday. The Regals struggled to stop Tipton’s transition offense in a game that was competitive until the third quarter.
There was nothing competitive about Tuesday’s playoff game as Tipton struggled just to get the ball past mid-court.
“It’s tournament time and we told our kids that we have to be playing our best basketball this time of year,” Wallace said. “And they came out showed that they’re ready.”
Regina improved to 23-0 and will face Maquoketa Valley in the next round on Friday at Regina. Tipton finished the season with a 7-16 record.
A testimony to Regina’s dominance is that leading scorer Mary Crompton was held to just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field, but it still didn’t matter.
Senior forward Sarah Lehman paced the Regina offense with 24 points, making all 10 of her field-goal attempts and all but one of her five free throws.
“She has been playing well all year, but she just does so many things for us.” Wallace said of Lehman. “Her passing is so good. But she’s getting deflections. She’s rebounding really well now. She’s shooting the ball well and setting up teammates.”
Lehman said the fact that Tipton made the previous game competitive for a while was motivation enough for the Regals.
“We were really clicking,” Lehman said. “We were coming back from the game that was somewhat close at the beginning and we really wanted to start out fresh this time.”
Lehman and sophomore center Alex Wiese were a combined 19-of-20 from the field as Wiese only missed one of her nine shots.
Wiese, who played her freshman season at Tipton, was the beneficiary of several nifty assists from Lehman.
“It’s so much fun, I love it,” Wiese said of playing alongside Lehman. “It seems like we feed off each other.”
Lehman and Wiese have developed a strong chemistry throughout the season. Each of them has a better understanding of how the other plays and that helps on both offense and defense.
“We’ve gotten way better,” Lehman said. “We use each other and it’s really working.”
Everything seem to work for Regina on Tuesday, sending a message that it is peaking at the right time.
Sophomore Kennedy Wallace made all four of her 3-point baskets in the first quarter, triggering the fast start.
After losing in the state semifinals last season, the Regals are on a mission to finish the job this season.
“We’re having fun, but we’re also playing some of our best basketball,” Lehman said. “So I guess it’s kind of half-and-half. We’re having fun, but we’re also working hard.
Tipton 9 10 11 10 – 40
Regina 25 32 16 7 – 80
Tipton (40) – Emily Hermsen 4-10 0-0 11, Jamie Kofron 3-6 1-1 7, Kailee Meyer 0-7 0-0 0, Amanda Smith 5-9 1-1 11, Zoe Rezac 0-1 0-0 0, Kamryn Chapman 1-1 2-2 4, Samantha DeMoss 2-8 2-3 7, Tiffany Schott 0-1 0-0 0, Hunter Humphrey 0-0 0-0 0, Laken Hermiston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 6-7 40.
Regina (80) – Mary Crompton 3-9 2-4 9, Sarah Lehman 10-10 4-5 24, Alex Wiese 9-10 0-0 18, Kennedy Wallace 4-9 0-0 12, Greyson Dumont 1-3 0-0 3, Alexa Lehman 1-2 0-0 3, Lauren Gaarde 1-4 0-0 2, Katie Dunn 1-2 0-0 2, Megan Wick 0-0 0-0, Maeve Dunne 1-3 1-2 4, Emma Corkery 0-3 0-0 0, Katie Bracken 1-2 0-0 2, Elly Gahan 0-2 0-0 0, Claire Gaarde 0-0 0-0 0, Ellie VanLanschoot 0-0 0-1 1. Totals 32-59 7-13 80.
3-point goals – Tipton 4 (Hermsen 3, DeMoss); Regina 8 (Wallace 4, Crompton, Dumont, A. Lehman, Dunne). Fouls – Tipton 11, Regina 14.