DES MOINES – Top-ranked Newell-Fonda proved to be too much of a juggernaut for Colo-Nesco in the Class 1A semifinals at the girls’ state basketball tournament March 5 at Wells Fargo Arena.

Colo-Nesco couldn’t handle the combination of dominant inside play from Newell-Fonda’s Claudia Larsen and hot outside shooting from the Mustangs, suffering a 65-34 loss.

"I thought if we came out and played our ‘A’ game we could play with them, but we didn’t play our ‘A’ game," Colo-Nesco head coach Wayne Cafferty said. "Newell-Fonda is year in and year out – they’re not one-year wonders. They’ve got great kids and a great program."

The Royals stayed close through most of the first quarter, but too much Larsen prevented them from hanging around the rest of the half.

After falling behind 10-2 out of the gate, Colo-Nesco closed to within 12-9 after Caitlyn Riese scored four points and Makaelyn Neuendorf canned a 3-pointer. Newell-Fonda’s Jordan Wilken hit a 3-pointer to push the Mustang lead back to six, but Shayla Dean answered with a basket to get Colo-Nesco within 15-11 late in the first quarter.

With one second left in the opening period, Newell-Fonda’s Hailey Falline missed two free throws, but Larsen was there to put back the second miss at the buzzer.

Larsen’s basket ignited a 15-3 run that gave Newell-Fonda a 31-14 lead. Colo-Nesco missed several inside shots that could’ve made the game tighter, but the Royals never got closer than 13 points the rest of the half.

In the third quarter everything fell apart for the Royals. Newell-Fonda scored the first 12 points of the second half to build an insurmountable 50-21 lead.

"They’re tenacious," Cafferty said. "On a loose ball there are two or three Newell-Fonda girls right there. They’re quick and they just play so hard, plus they’re deep. which gives them good competition in practice, and that pays off."

Newell-Fonda overwhelmed Colo-Nesco by a 48-29 margin on the boards. The Mustangs totaled 18 offensive rebounds to the Royals’ eight.

Larsen set the tone for Newell-Fonda as she posted an impressive 20 points and 20 rebounds. Larsen made 8 of 14 field goals and 4 of 7 free throws and she also blocked five shots and dished out three assists.

"She’s good," Riese said. "We tried to stay low and get in front of her when she drove because she doesn’t like contact, but she’s really good."

Newell-Fonda also hit 8 of 22 3-pointers as a team. The Mustangs shot 42 percent overall from the field and held Colo-Nesco to 26-percent shooting from the field.

"You can either give up the 3s and cover Larsen inside or guard at side and leave her one-on-one inside," Cafferty said. "They’re good."

Renee Maneman and Brianna Wells both hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points for Newell-Fonda. Maneman also handed out four assists and pulled down five rebounds.

Maddi Morenz came off the bench to score eight points and Hailey Falline added seven points for the Mustangs.

Riese concluded her career with a great individual outing in defeat.

Going up against Larsen, Riese scored 17 points, pulled down nine rebounds and added two blocks and assists apiece. Riese ended up making the 1A all-tournament team after averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds over the Royals’ two tournament games.

"This was my last shot," Riese said. "I knew I had to leave it all on the floor and play the hardest I could."

All-state Royal point guard Shayla Dean added seven points and five assists. Makaelyn Neuendorf finished with three points and two assists, Leah Vincent had three points and one assist and Madison Farren tallied two points and four rebounds for the Royals, who finished 24-2.

"I’m so proud of this team," Farren said. "It’s been a blast this season. I love this team and group of girls."

Newell-Fonda went on to place second in 1A for the second year in a row after suffering a 57-54 loss to Burlington Notre Dame in the championship Friday. The Mustangs ended up with a 24-3 record.

Newell-Fonda 65, Colo-Nesco 34

N-F 17 19 23 6 – 65

C-N 11 10 3 10 – 34

Newell-Fonda (65) – Renee Maneman 4-8 0-0 10, Taiyler Schrank 1-9 0-0 3, Brianna Wells 4-8 0-0 10, Jade Hess 0-1 0-2 0, Claudia Larsen 8-14 4-7 20, Jordan Wilken 1-2 0-0 3, Morgan Magnussen 0-1 0-0 0, Courtney Temple 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Smith 1-1 0-0 2, Maddi Morenz 3-8 0-0 8, Hailey Falline 2-3 3-5 7, Mallory Sievers 1-2 0-0 2, Kate Christiansen 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Christensen 0-3 0-0 0, Emily Archer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-60 7-14 65. 3-point field goals (8): Maneman 2, Wells 2, Morenz 2, Schrank, Wilken. Rebounds (48): Larsen 20. Assists (15): Maneman 4. Steals (8): Schrank 3. Blocks (5): Larsen 5.

Colo-Nesco (34) – Madison Farren 1-4 0-0 2, Shayla Dean 3-8 0-0 7, Melanie Van Loon 0-6 2-4 2, Makaelyn Neuendorf 1-5 0-0 3, Caitlyn Riese 5-11 7-11 17, Jillian Gibbons 0-0 0-0 0, Leah Vincent 1-1 0-0 3, Hannah Buseman 0-3 0-0 0, Kassie Robinson 0-2 0-0 0, Rachel Vincent 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Tabitha Halferty 0-1 0-0 0, Angela Brinkman 0-1 0-0 0, Hannah Reischauer 0-1 0-0 0, Grace Stalzer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 11-43 9-15 34. 3-point field goals (3): Dean, Neuendorf, L. Vincent. Rebounds (29): Riese 9. Assists (11): Dean 5. Steals (4): Farren 2. Blocks (6): Riese 2, Halferty 2.