By Jeff Linder
DES MOINES — You’ve heard of no-passing zones.
This is a no-scoring zone.
Third-ranked Ackley AGWSR put another offense into the deep freeze Monday morning, holding No. 6 New London to 27-percent shooting in a 40-29 victory in a Class 1A quarterfinal at the girls’ state basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Cougars (24-0) are on pace to set a state defensive record. They are allowing about 22 points per game and haven’t permitted an opponent to reach 30 since the third game of the season.
“Number one, we have three 6-footers (Macy Ubben, Megan Pieters and Jessica McDowell), and one of them is in the passing lanes,” said AGWSR Coach Bruce Dall. “A lot of teams can’t simulate that in practice.
“Number two, our kids have been in the system so long, they know one another and they know their roles. They know how to rotate and recover.”
“Everybody knows where everybody is going to be,” Ubben said. “We have the bigs in the middle and down low, and (Cassidy Ringena) is great in getting into the passing lanes.”
AGWSR plays a 1-3-1 zone about 90 percent of the time, Dall said, with a smattering of man-to-man and 2-1-2.
New London’s leading scorer, Ciara Allen, was held to 0-for-12 shooting and one point.
“We needed to hit a couple of perimeter shots, and that didn’t happen today,” said New London Coach Duane Blint.
“As big as they are, they were quicker than I thought they would be. There is somebody in your face all the time.”
New London (24-1) didn’t reach double figures until a 3-pointer by Logan Chiri (her lone field goal in 10 attempts) tied the game at 12-12 with 2:10 left in the first half.
New London’s 29 points were the most AGWSR has yielded in the postseason. The Cougars allowed 18.8 points per game in regionals.
AGWSR meets No. 10 George-Little Rock in a semifinal Wednesday night. GLR (23-3) averages a healthy 60.4 points per game.
Weak all week
Last week should have been a thrill for Springville Coach Brian O’Donnell. Another trip to the state tournament. Pep rallies. Things to plan. Dozens of pats on the back.
Instead, he was flat on his back, ridden with bronchitis.
“I was just trying to get better. (Assistant coach) Gretchen (Eastman) carried the load, taking care of most of the itinerary work.”
O’Donnell coached the Orioles’ regional-final win over Midland, but didn’t feel well. He missed school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before returning Friday.
Illness swept through the entire household. O’Donnell’s 1-year-old son, Brady, was hospitalized for more than 2 days with influenza. His wife, Jenny, was sick a couple of days, too.
“The nice thing was that I could lie down and watch game film on Martensdale-St. Marys,” O’Donnell said.