Rachel Steinhoff hits a three to give New Haven a four point lead during the second quarter.
Photo by Samantha Campbell
Columbia, Mo. - Saturday night New Haven became just the third team since 2003, after moving up a class, to play for a state title twice in as many years and the only team in school history to reach the final four as a Class 2 school.
Despite Rachel Steinhoff’s career high 26 points New Haven was unable to match Crane’s depth and aggressive defense, leading the Lady Pirates to their first State Championship 55-45.
In Doug Peirick’s opening remarks he said, “We just run out of gas. By the fourth quarter we were dead tired and had little left. That’s a good team and congratulations to them. I can’t deny we didn’t get beat by a better team tonight.”
New Haven was out numbered as Crane played 12 girls while averaging 70 points per game. Before the game TV broadcasters that we spoke with did not give New Haven much of a chance and Crane’s head coach said he underestimated New Haven.
Crane grabbed their largest lead, 15-10, seconds into the second quarter after Addision Reel scored on the first possession in the quarter.
New Haven fired back when #20 Emily Kallmeyer and #32 Steinhoff teamed up taking New Haven on a 9-0 run after Kallmeyer scored two points pulling New Haven within three, 15-12.
After scoring back-to-back layups giving New Haven their first lead of the game, 16-15, Megan Shockley found Steinhoff wide open for a deep three that brought Shamrock fans to their feet giving the Lady Rocks a 19-15 lead.
Crane responded with an 11-5 as they headed into the half with a 26-24 lead. Crane's aggressive defense played a major role, scoring 10 of their 26 points off nine New Haven turnovers.
Steinhoff said in the postgame press conference, “After losing last year I definitely had even more of a desire to make it back here. It kind of eats away at you since last year almost everyday, thinking I want to get back to the final four and we did. I am proud of that. I have one more chance to get my name up on that wall with my dad [Ray Steinhoff] and my brother [Ryan Steinhoff]."
Crane’s only senior, Maggie McMenamy give her team a seven point lead early in the first half while New Haven’s hopes of a state title slowly began to fade.
Crane’s head coach, Jeremy Mullins was quoted after the game saying, “She’s [Rachel Steinhoff] actually better than I thought she’d be, but that’s where we devoted our pressure and we wore her out.”
Mullins would eat his words shortly after making the comment once he was informed Steinhoff had scored a career high on his team.
Kayla Meyer scores two points late in the third period, helping New Haven take a one-point lead.
Photo by Kaylin Bade
Steinhoff single handedly picked apart Crane’s defense midway into the third.
At the 4:45 mark Steinhoff took New Haven on a 10-2 run, scoring 10 points with Kayla Meyer adding two and giving New Haven a one point lead, 38-37, as they began the final eight minutes.
Crane’s defense had been their offense in the first half by forcing turnovers into points. The third quarter was a different story and one reason the Lady Rocks were able to pull ahead by one. New Haven committed only one turnover while outscoring Crane 14-11.
Crane’s McMenamy carried her team through the final quarter and eventually onto a State Championship, however the Lady Rocks had a chance to potentially change the outcome.
The New Haven bench come to their feet in the first half, cheering on their teammates as they take a one point lead.
New Haven trailed by one, 40-39, with 6:55 when Kallmeyer missed two free throws that would have given the Lady Rocks a one-point lead. After McMenamy made it a three-point lead, Steinhoff hit 1-2 from the line with 6:05 making it a two-point game, 42-40. Had Kallmeyer and Steinhoff both made their free throws New Haven would have been leading by one..
New Haven still trailing by two at the 5-minute mark, Crane’s Allie Hagler’s three pointer was off the mark but Crane grabbed the offensive rebound and a four point lead, 44-40, giving them the momentum to win their first Girls State Title.
Crane’s only senior, Maggie McMenamy finished with a team high 13 points and eight rebounds, followed by Riley Israel with 12 points and Emma Lander with 10.
Peirick said, “They came at us with lots of girls. Every one of them guarded well and prevented our other players besides Rachel to even get good looks at the basket. By the fourth quarter we were dead tired and had little left. Rachel did an outstanding job scoring and getting the ball to the basket”
Peirick concluded, “Our girls have a lot of heart and desire to win. They grind it out every night, in practice they compete, and as a coach I couldn’t ask for anything more. Like I said, we got beat by a better team tonight.”
“It’s not easy losing a state championship when you watch your team work as hard as these girls have but very few teams ever make it here yet alone two straight years.
It’s been a fun last couple of weeks, one reason because of our fans. We could never thank them enough for all their support, the signs along the highways, people honking at us on the bus as we drove up here, and then to look in the stands and see all the green…that in itself is an awesome feeling and I know it means a lot to our kids.
New Haven finished winning eight straight, placing them in the Class 2 State Championship final, ending their season with an overall record of 21-11.