The game plan for the Columbia Eagles was to force the Mater Dei Knights to shoot from outside Monday.
The plan was executed, but Mater Dei was able to convert from the perimeter and scored a 58-51 victory over Columbia in the Class 3A Waterloo Sectional semifinal.
"Our goal going in was to make them knock down shots from perimeter," Columbia coach Scott Germain said. "We knew they had some shooters. Our mindset was they're going to have to knock them down, which they did. Credit them."
The Knights shot 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Senior Paige Richards and junior Lindsey Perkes hit two 3-pointers a piece. Perkes was a spark off the bench, hitting 6-of-7 attempts for a total of 16 points.
"Our bench played well," Mater Dei coach Dave Kohnen said. "Lindsey Perkes was the star of the game. Without her, we're in trouble. She hit some big shots."
Perkes' 16 points were her career high.
"I felt like I was in for a good night tonight," Perkes said. "I was hitting everything, and it was pretty awesome."
Mater Dei held a 27-22 lead at halftime, but nearly relinquished it two minutes into the third quarter. Columbia senior Erika Varel scored six points in just over a minute to cut the Eagles' deficit to one point. But the Knights hit three straight 3-pointers to extend their lead to nine points at the end of the third quarter.
"We had them on their heels, but then their girls knocked some shots down," Germain said. "It's kind of deflating when they pass the ball around the perimeter and they hit them. They did that about three or four possessions in a row."
Columbia made a fourth-quarter surge, but Mater Dei senior Emily Koelling took over. Koelling scored the first nine fourth quarter points for Mater Dei, and tallied 11 of her 15 points in the final frame. Koelling secured the win, but the outside shooting led the way.
"It's been a team effort ever since last summer," Kohnen said. "That's just the way we play. If it isn't one person, it's somebody else. Nothing to take away what Emily did. Emily had a great game, too, but we had some nice 3-point shots from other kids."
Columbia senior Calli Germain also shot well from outside. Germain was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range to lead the Eagles with 16 points. Sophomore Kaylee Bastien and Varel both finished with 10 points. Seniors Megan Biscan scored eight points, and senior Savannah Wittenbrink, Columbia's leading scorer during the season, was held to four points.
"I was proud of the way our seniors battled," Germain said. "They battled for four quarters. Unfortunately, it had to end tonight."
Mater Dei will play in the sectional final Thursday at Waterloo High School.
"I don't care who we play," Kohnen said. "We've got our hands full. At this level, at the sectional final, you're going to have your hands full. And I think they'll have their hands full with us, too."