Uncommon length makes Pleasant Valley’s 2-3 a no-scoring zone

28 days ago The Gazette

Girls’ basketball: Spartans put the clamps on another opponent, advancing in Class 5A with a 43-28 win over West Des Moines Valley

Pleasant Valley’s Halle Vice speaks in the Wells Fargo Arena media room after the Spartans’ 43-28 win over West Des Moines Valley in a Class 5A quarterfinal at the girls’ basketball tournament Monday. (Jeff Linder/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — PV plays “D,” that’s for sure.

It’s constant, it’s unrelenting, and it’s as good as anyone plays it.

Pleasant Valley put the clamps on another foe Monday afternoon at the girls’ state basketball tournament. The top-ranked Spartans held West Des Moines Valley to 25-percent shooting in a 43-28 Class 5A quarterfinal win.


Some of it is scheme. Most of it is personnel.

“It’s an extended 2-3 zone,” Spartans Coach Jennifer Goetz said. “But I’m not going to lie ... we have length, and that helps a ton.”

The Spartans (24-0) go 6-foot-3, 6-2, 6-0 and 5-10 among their starters. And that causes a lot of congestion for opponents.

“We do like to play defense here,” said Marquette University signee Halle Vice, the lone senior starter. “With our size, it’s hard for the other teams to get a shot off. And we put a lot of ball pressure on them.

“We’re pretty disruptive.”

Pleasant Valley went on a decisive 11-0 run in the first quarter, pulling away from a 3-3 tie. The Spartans held Valley (15-9) to nine field goals and forced 16 turnovers.

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They have allowed a 5A-best 27.8 points per game.

“I think the shot clock has been huge for us,” Goetz said. “When they passed that, I thought, ‘That’s going to help us immensely.’ In the past, teams would hold the ball for a minute because they couldn’t find a shot.”

Pleasant Valley is the lone non-CIML team left standing. It will face No. 4 West Des Moines Dowling (20-4) in a semifinal at 11:45 a.m. Thursday.

No. 2 Johnston (23-1) — the defending champion — meets No. 6 Ankeny Centennial (18-6) in the other 5A semi.

“We want to show that there’s good basketball on our side of the state, too,” Goetz said.

Distinction for McTaggart

Former Iowa City High coach Bill McTaggart is the recipient of the IGHSAU Golden Plaque of Distinction.

McTaggart coached at City High 24 years, reaching 12 state tournaments, highlighted by a Class 4A championship in 2008.

His teams won 13 Mississippi Valley Conference divisional titles, including a stretch of nine in a row. His career record was 518-191, 402-129 at City High, before retiring in 2022. He coached numerous Division-I players, including Kelly Krei and the first four Joens sisters.

The ceremony is at halftime of the Class 3A state final Friday.

Cooley cash

Elizabeth Van Utrecht of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont is the recipient of this year’s E. Wayne Cooley Scholarship Award.

The award, is honor of the longtime IGHSAU executive director, is worth $15,000 over four years as Van Utrecht attends the Iowa college or university of her choice.

A five-sport athlete and a state track qualifier as a sophomore and junior, Van Utrecht was selected from 81 applicants.

Lisbon’s Peyton Robinson was one of six finalists, all of whom receive $1,000.

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