Spartans advance to next round; Vikings eliminated

Early into the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Class 2A – Region 3 First Round Tournament Game, with the Exira-EHK Spartans leading by 10 points over the AHSTW Vikings, Junior Spartan Harlee Fahn made a shot from 3-point range, putting her team up 39-25, helping lead the Spartans to a 52-34 victory, punching their ticket to the next round, and ending the Vikings season.

“It feels great,” Fahn said. “It’s not my first time going, and we’ve just got to work together as a team and that’s what we did tonight to get to the second round.”

Senior Spartan Hannah Nelson made the first shot of the night, followed by a shot from Senior Viking Delaney Goshorn, which was followed by a timeout from Viking head coach Jason McCall.

When play resumed, the Spartans went on a 10-0 run with Fahn making back-to-back shots, followed by a 3-pointer from Freshman Taryn Petersen, a layup from Freshman Riley Miller, capped off with a free throw from Junior Mayne Jorgensen.

Sophomore Viking Ava Paulsen put a stop to their run going aggressively at the basket for a layup with Sophomore Spartan Jaelynn Petersen attempting to block her. Petersen answered back with a bucket of her own, but Paulsen came back with two more shots and the Spartans led 15-8 at the end of the first quarter.

“I was very impressed,” McCall said of Paulsen. “She has been coming along. She missed about over half the season, and she came back here in these last few weeks of the season and gave us a pretty big spark on both sides of the ball. I’m proud of her, and I’m proud of her teammates for getting her the ball.”

Goshorn opened the second quarter with a mid-range basket cutting the Spartan lead down to five, followed by a free throw from Paulsen, forcing a timeout from Spartan head coach Tom Petersen.

When play resumed, the Spartan offense got back on track with a 3-pointer from Miller, a layup from Taryn Petersen, and a 3-point shot from Fahn. Senior Viking Graycen Partlow answered back with a 3-pointer, but Sophomore Spartan Kadence Sporrer closed out the half with a 3-point shot giving the Spartans an 8-point lead going into the locker room.

“We needed to play like we are capable of,” Petersen said. “I wasn’t very happy offensively with just the lack of execution. Defensively, I thought we did a great job. [Delaney] Goshorn is extremely talented. They were up in our grills defensively wise. They’re long, they’re athletic, and they get up in your shorts.”

Senior Viking Saydi Paulsen struck first in the third quarter with a shot from 3-point range. Following Paulsen’s basket, the Spartans offense took control of the game going on an 8-0 run which was capped off with free throws from Jaelynn Petersen. Goshorn put a temporary stop to the Spartans run making two free throws. Ava Paulsen closed out the quarter with a layup, but the Vikings still trailed by double digits.

The fourth quarter was Spartan dominated on offense starting with a 3-pointer from Fahn, followed by back-to-back shots from Jaelynn and Taryn Petersen, forcing another timeout from McCall. When play resumed, Jaelynn Petersen made another few shots expanding the Spartan lead to 21 points.

The Vikings responded with back-to-back 3’s from Saydi Paulsen and Goshorn, but the Spartans won easily punching their ticket to the second round of tournament play where they will face the Treynor Cardinals. The Cardinals are led by Nora Konz, averaging 13 points per game, and Alexa Schwartz, averaging 6 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

“They’re a good team,” Fahn said. “They’ll be a tough battle, but you’ve just got to have effort and execution, and if we have the energy and we’re there making out shots, it’ll be a good game.”

For the Vikings, they finished their 2023-2024 campaign with an overall record of 12-9, winning games during the regular season against Underwood, Missouri Valley, Logan-Magnolia, Red Oak, Riverside, and a regular season finale home win over Denison.

“I’m super proud of them,” McCall said. “They’ve been hearing from me enough, so I wanted them to get and be with friends and family, and people that have been supporting them all year. That’s who they need to be with at that time.”

Paulsen, Goshorn, Partlow, Ella Langer, and Rylie Knop will not return due to graduating. McCall will miss the seniors, but is excited for the future of Viking basketball.

“They came in early in June with a mindset to get as good as they possibly could,” McCall said of the Seniors. “We’ll definitely miss them, but I’m extremely optimistic. I think we have some great things coming up, and it’s not just with this group, it’s with a lot of groups all the way down to our elementary levels. We have girls that are bought in at all levels, so we’re excited.”



Harlan Newspapers

1114 7th Street
P.O. Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537-0721

(800) 909-6397

Comment Here