Sea of Green will splash into Columbia after Steinhoff splashes game winning free throws

Excited? The State Bound Lady Shamrocks Team...Coaches, Players, and Managers.
Photos by Samantha Campbell

Farmington, Mo. – For the second straight year the famous “sea of green” will crash into Columbia after New Haven outlasted Neelyville in overtime 58-56 in Saturday’s Class 2 State Quarterfinals.

Emily Kallmeyer picked the perfect game to score a career high 16 points tying Rachel Steinhoff with a team high eight rebounds.

With the game tied at 56 after Neelyville’s Brooke Sheppard scored with 30 seconds left in overtime Steinhoff drove down the lane, drawing a foul and headed to the line with 5.1 left on the clock in overtime.

Steinhoff stepped to the line knocking down both free throws, giving New Haven a two point lead.  Neelyville inbounded the ball but instead of pushing it up court they threw up a prayer from in front of the New Haven bench, coming up way short, New Haven fans went crazy.

Rachel Steinhoff hits game winning free throws giving New Haven a 58-56 lead  Photos by Samantha Campbell

After the game an emotional Steinhoff talked about her game winning free throws.

“While I was at the line I was telling myself that I’ve waited my whole life for a moment like this, so I was not about to miss those.  As little kid in your backyard pretending to hit two game winning free throws that’s what was going through my mind…like that little girl”

Neelyville had New Haven’s number in the first half and a six point lead into halftime, 28-22.  New Haven was lucky to be trailing just by six points after Neelyville pounded the boards, grabbing nine offensive rebounds but failed to capitalize and paid for it in the second half.

During halftime Coach Doug Pierick told his team, “I had said all we need to do is win one half so now we know which half we need to win.”

Senior Kierstin Monzyk had given New Haven a first quarter spark in Wednesday’s sectionals, which lead her team to score 22 points against Bismarck.

Saturday “Spark Plug” Monzyk single handily erased Neelyville’s six point lead, scoring eight unanswered points, giving New Haven a two point lead, 30-28.

 Photos by Samantha Campbell

“Kierstin [Monzyk] didn’t play real well in the first half but she came out in the second half and just flat out played.  She played good defense, handled the ball when she had too,” Pierick said.

Both teams battled back and fourth throughout the second half with neither team taking more than a four point lead.

New Haven had numerious players step up in each quarter; Stephanie Scheer came out of no where, teaming up with Kayla Meyer in the second quarter to score all 10 points. (Scheer with six and Meyer with four.)

Peirick said, “I’m still in shock right now in how we came out in that second half…we didn’t give up and they played hard.  Several times we’d get on a role, thinking we were starting to pull away but that is a very tough team [Neelyville].”

In the third quarter it was “Spark Plug” and Megan Shockley (5 points) combining for 13 of the teams 18 points.

In overtime after she had scored just nine points it was Steinhoff who came through in the clutch scoring the two biggest points thus far in her career.

 Photos by Samantha Campbell

Kallmeyer exploded in the fourth, hitting jumper after jumper like a machine, picking up eight of her career high 16 points.

Steinhoff caught the ball with 10 seconds left when Peirick was just about to call timeout.

“I was just about to call timeout when Rachel [Steinhoff] starting driving to the basket but when she took off…that’s who hands we want to the ball in…better let her finish that…maybe draw a foul.”

New Haven picks up their 20th win and improve to 2-0 in overtime.  The Lady Rocks return to the Final Four for the third time since 2002 when New Haven won their first girls basketball State Championship.

They become the 12th basketball team (boys and girls) to reach the final four and the seventh time since 1997.

As a school New Haven has played in the State Championship game every time except in 1998 where the boys finished 3rd.  New Haven has played in 10 state title games, winning nine times.

New Haven will play Marceline (27-3) on Thur. Mar. 7 at 12 p.m.  Game will be broadcast live on QuickNewsNow.com.  We’ll have more later this week on how New Haven will match up with Marceline.

Doug Pierick talks with Kyle Quick during the postgame interview.
Photos by Samantha Campbell

Exclusive Postgame Interviews:

Coach Doug Pierick on what it feels like advancing to final four as a first year head coach.

“I don’t really know what it feels like yet, it hasn’t really sunk in…will be a while before it sinks but have to believe it’s going to feel awesome.”

“I was handed a pretty darn good team from Coach Dave Luecke.  He gets a lot of credit for this.  There is no doubt in my mind he gets a lot of credit for this.  I had these girls in JV but night and day difference between JV and varsity.  I can’t think of too many first year varsity coaches who are lucky enough not only be handed a good team but from a great coach as well.”

Kierstin Monzyk

About coming out in the second half and scoring eight straight points after having a rough first half.

“That was an unbelievable feeling.  All game it was just rough for me because I could never get a shot off and all around it was rough.  But when I came out (second half) and hit those two three’s I was pumped.”

“Being the only senior on the team and playing with these younger girls I have so much faith in them.  Going back to state for the second straight year is unexplainable.  Last year was just wow…Hearnes Center…New Haven…no way.  Then this year it’s…I’m still on cloud nine.  I feel like we were jus there yesterday.”

Rachel Steinhoff in a postgame interview with Kyle Quick.

Rachel Steinhoff about how it feels to return to the Final Four and hitting the game winning free throws.

“Feels amazing, two years in a row…it’s pretty unbelievable actually.”

When we interviewed Steinhofff after she had scored 1,000 points, the one thing she said was, “I want my name up on that wall (State Champion wall)” Ironically, Steinhoff was the one shooting two free throws with the game and season on the line.

“I had waited my whole life for this moment and was not about to miss them.  When you’re a little kid in your backyard pretending and imagining that these two free throws will win the game.  That’s what was going through my mind.  I was that little girl."