SPENCER - The exciting, successful season for the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn girls came to a screeching halt here Monday night in a heart-breaking 67-52 Class 1A Regional final loss to tradition-rich Newell-Fonda.
MMC, which carved out a sparkling 18-6 record this season, had its cause hampered throughout by foul trouble for leading scorer and point guard Erica Dreckman.
The talented junior, who averaged 20 points per game this season, was held to just nine points and sat out several minutes of the second, third, and fourth quarters with foul trouble. She fouled out with five minutes left in the game and the outcome still in doubt, with the Eagles trailing by just six points. She sat out three minutes of the second quarter with three fouls, and three minutes of the third stanza with four fouls.
Cheyenne Anderson paced the Mustangs with 16 points, and Claudia Larsen tallied 15, and Alyssa Henrich eight.
MMC sank 17-49 field goals for 35 percent, including a costly 0-8 effort from the three-point line, and cashed in 18-29 free throws.
Newell-Fonda made 24-55 shots for 44 percent, was 3-13 from the three-ball line, and meshed 16-24 free throws.
Specht led the Eagles' rebounding with 13, and Doeden pocketed 11. Larsen snagged 12 rebounds to pace N-F with a double-double performance.
MMC led 15-12 in the first quarter, and trailed 37-31 at halftime, before the Mustangs inched out to a 57-44 margin after three frames and Dreckman, who was doubled and tripled on defense most of the game, on the bench with foul troubles.
"We can't complain about our season. The girls did a great job all year," said MMC coach Tim Dreckman, Erica's father. "You have to credit Newell-Fonda's defense and pressure (forced MMC into 20 turnovers). They are a very quick team and really deep. They substituted freely and it didn't make a difference in their play.
"All our girls stepped up and played as hard as they could. Anna and Kelsey had great games, and Steph and Jalyn were tough on the boards. There was a lot of pressure on Reagan and Carly Lehnhoff when Erica was out of the game. The crowd was unbelievable. Our girls weren't use to such a big crowd and the noise. Maybe that will help us down the road."
That road to the future certainly is bright for the Eagles, who graduate Sears and Specht, and return everyone else, including talented junior Kayla Foresman, a three-year varsity regular who missed much of the season with a knee injury and will be back to bolster the Eagles next season.