Class 1A State Basketball Semifinals
Newell-Fonda 66, North Linn 48

Newell-Fonda will end its season in a familiar spot against a familiar opponent.

Mary Walker scored 24 points and Kierra Jungers added 19 and 10 rebounds as the Mustangs pulled away in the second half to beat North Linn 66-48 and reach the Class 1A championship game for the fourth time in five years.

Their opponent: Algona Bishop Garrigan, the defending champion and the team Newell-Fonda defeated in the 2020 and 2021 title games. Bishop Garrigan advanced with a 73-39 romp past Remsen St. Mary’s behind 26 points from Audi Crooks.

They’ll meet at 7 p.m. Saturday to conclude the 2023 girls basketball season. Newell-Fonda, improving to 24-2, also won the title in 2019 and 2015. The Mustangs lost in the semifinals last year.

Kamryn Kurt led North Linn with 16 points, Ellie Flanagan scored 15 on 5-for-7 3-point shooting and Macy Boge scored 11 and handed out four assists.

Newell-Fonda usually harasses teams into submission with its depth and full-court pressure. North Linn handled that pressure better than most but couldn’t keep the Mustangs off the boards. Newell-Fonda piled up a 40-23 rebounding advantage with 17 offensive rebounds, which led to a 21-2 edge in second-chance points.

North Linn’s 6-for-12 3-point shooting helped the Lynx hold Newell-Fonda to a 28-all tie at halftime and they pulled ahead 33-30 on Boge’s 3 and Kurt’s driving layup. Newell-Fonda kept pushing the pace, however, and finally got it to the Mustangs’ liking, reeling off a 14-2 run that produced a 44-35 lead.

North Linn never got closer than six points after that and Newell-Fonda steadily built on its cushion, outscoring the Lynx 22-11 in the fourth quarter to win going away. The Mustangs shot 67 percent in the final period (8-of-12) and ended up at 44.8 percent for the game.

Walker made 9-of-17 shots and added seven rebounds and two steals to her line. Jungers complemented her play around the basket by knocking down three 3-pointers and blocked two shots.

North Linn, the Class 2A champion in 2020, finishes 23-2, its 13th straight season with at least 20 victories and fifth straight appearance at state.

The victory was Newell-Fonda’s 30th in state tournament play, which ranks fourth on the all-time list, one behind Mediapolis and West Des Moines Dowling Catholic. Ankeny is the leader with 43 state tournament wins.