The beat goes on at Newell-Fonda.
The defending state champion Mustangs turned their aggressive defense and balanced scoring into yet another victory, beating Council Bluffs St. Albert 77-47 to open the Class 1A tournament. As usual, they struck quickly and often in posting their 52nd straight victory, the longest current streak in the state. It was 25-9 less than less than 7 minutes into the game and the points just kept coming after that, thanks in large measure to that aggressive defense.
The Mustangs came up with 19 steals and scored 35 points off turnovers. They made things happen so quickly that in one stretch late in the first quarter, the Mustangs rang up nine points in only 29 seconds. St. Albert shot 71 percent in that opening quarter, yet trailed by 15 when it ended.
Four Newell-Fonda starters scored in double figures and the fifth missed that mark by a single point. Ella Larsen led with 15 points, Maggie Walker and Bailey Sievers each scored 13 and Megan Morenz, the team's only senior, had 11. Macy Sievers added nine points and four assists, while reserve Ellie Lago knocked down a couple of 3-pointers and contributed eight points.
St. Albert got a strong game from junior Allie Petry, who handled herself well against the Mustangs' pressure. Petry scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Bel Pershing added eight points for the Saintes, who made it to the state tournament for the first time since 2000, when they were the Class 2A runners-up.
St. Albert did get a number of high percentage shots after beating the press, but gave the Mustangs too many opportunities at the other end because of turnovers.
Newell-Fonda improved to 9-2 in opening round games at state under coach Dick Jungers, who has guided the Mustangs to two state championships and four second-place finishes. They'll take a 25-0 record into a semifinal game at 1:30 p.m. Friday. St. Albert, which played a number of bigger schools during the season, finished with a 13-12 record.