Koerkenmeier Triple-Double Leads Mater Dei to 2A Championship
NORMAL — Mater Dei’s win over Quincy Notre Dame to gain entry to the state title game was a strong enough statement as to its likely superiority over the rest of Class 2A.
Saturday, the Knights were in complete control though most of their 62-46 state title game win over Byron, thanks largely to sophomore Alyssa Koerkenmeier’s triple-double.
The Tigers were able to pull it within 6 points before halftime, but Mater Dei dominated the third quarter.
When the Tigers got back within 10 points in the fourth, Koerkenmeier appropriately rejected a Byron shot, her 10th block of the contest to chalk up the triple-double. She had 23 points, 14 rebounds.
After utilizing a 1-2-2 zone at times, Mater Dei coach Craig Zurliene said that his team switched into a matchup-zone and allowed Koerkenmeier to rest in the paint and act as a deterrent around the rim.
Mater Dei finished 27-7 as the state champs. Byron finished 34-4.
Numbers of Note
-Mater Dei enrollment 393, Byron enrollment 456
-Mater Dei started Players 6-5, 5-11, 6-0, and 5-10. That helped the Knights get to 15 blocks.
–Koerkenmeier had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the first half alone.
-The Knights had 20 points in the paint in the first half.
-Amelia Beer had 3 of Mater Dei’s 6 first-half assists. The Tigers also had 6 assists in the first half. Beer had a game-high 7 assists to go with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
-Macy Groharing led Byron with 14, Ava Kultgen had 12 and Karsyn Bielskis added 10.
What Did They Say?
“We weren’t expected to get this far, but we knew whatever we needed to do we could do it together,” Amelia Beer
“When I get the ball, I want to score. Playing in this arena, on this stage is a very cool expenrience. There’s so much energy I just want to go straight to then basket,” -Alyssa Koerkenmeier
“If I can get a hand on the ball and affect their shot, it’s a game changer. It gets everyone in the gym going,” – Koerkenmeier
“She’s (Koerkenmeier) maturing both physically and mentally at an exponential rate, and it showed,” coach Craig Zurliene
“I hit a few 3’s, they weren’t falling in warmups, but I’m glad they fell today,” – Julia Korte
“It’s an awesome experience and an honor to walk off the floor a state champion,” Madison Eversgerd
“It was super exciting experience, especially with these seniors being my last time playing with them,” – Macy Groharing
“I have to give her (Koerkenmeier) credit because she really worked hard down there and she did a nice job,” Ava Kultgen
“We told them in the locker room that this is an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime,” – Eric Yerly
Mater Dei’s defense and athleticism irked Byron in the early going, and some easy buckets lead to a 16-8 lead. Having a 6-5 sophomore post player in Alyssa Koerkenmeier will do that for you.
Mater Dei led 16-8 after a quarter.
Avery Trame finished a tough, falling and-1 bucket fora 20-8 Knights lead just over a minute into the period.
All-stater Ava Kultgen grabbed her own offensive rebound, kicked out to freshman Macy Groharing n what resulted in the freshman’s second 3-pointer of the quarter. That made it 25-16.
Mater Dei continued to go high-low with pin-point passing to Koerkenmeier for easy buckets.
The Knights held a 30-24 lead at half.
Beer drove for a hanging jumper in the lane, then Koerkenmeier rejected a shot on the other end for a strong start to the second half.
Koerkenmeer’s 6th block of the game led to a Julia Korte layup and a 34-24 Mater Dei advantage.
Beer, a freshman, showed off in the second with heads up passes and strong shot choices in and around the paint while navigating Byron’s zone defense.
Maris Zurliene’s 3-pointer from a Beer pass put Mater Dei up 46-30 with just under 3 minutes left in the third.
The Knights were in control.
Macy Groharing’s 3-pointer with 3:55 left made it 56-41, but the Tigers were too far removed from making it competitive.
Byron cut to 12, then 10 when Karsyn Bielskis knocked down 2 tree throws with a little less than 3 minutes left.
Madison Eversgerd had the honor of dribbling the clock out in the final moments with four other seniors on the floor.