Dubuque Wahlert brought the flowers. Dubuque Hempstead brought the brooms.
Riley Kay’s double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds helped lead Hempstead to a 50-40 win over the host Golden Eagles on Thursday in the regular-season finale for both Mississippi Valley Conference foes.
It was senior night and Wahlert honored both squads’ seniors with flowers before the game, even the road team Mustangs, who head to the postseason 12-9. For Hempstead, it was a clean sweep (6-0) of city foes this year.
Mustangs coach Casey Smith is glad she won’t have to face off with Wahlert (7-14) again this season.
“This Wahlert team is one of the hardest working teams,” Smith said. “It’s a testament to (Wahlert coach) Kris Spiegler and their program. In the tournament, I would be afraid to play them.”
Spiegler agreed that Wahlert gave Hempstead everything they could handle.
“We don’t give up,” Spiegler said. “I was really pleased with our effort. We really battled. (Hempstead) didn’t beat us up and down the court like they did the last time.”
Kaylie Springer hit three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, including a 25-footer from the top of the key to propel the Mustangs early.
The Golden Eagles’ first two buckets came on 3-pointers, including one from Ana Chandlee, who would add another bomb early in the second quarter, which quelled a Mustang run.
After Wahlert pulled to within 19-17, Kay began to assert herself inside. In the second quarter, Kay scored four points and had six of her 10 rebounds.
Hempstead took its biggest lead with 1:30 remaining before halftime on Lindsay Coble’s follow up of a Carleigh Hodgson missed 3. It was one of four rebounds for Coble over the final 2 minutes of the second quarter. Her second rebound led to a 3 on the other end for Hodgson that gave the Mustangs a 28-17 lead that they would take into the locker room.
At the start of the second half, Wahlert came out firing from deep to try to slice into the Mustangs’ lead. The Eagles missed three straight 3-pointers, though, and didn’t score until Morgan Herrig’s driving layup 3 minutes into play.
Hempstead obliged, going over 4 minutes without scoring. Hodgson ended the drought with another 3-pointer and Kay continued to dominate inside as Hempstead tried to pull away.
Corinne Meier’s running jumper rang home off the glass as the third quarter expired to give Hempstead a 13-point cushion heading into the fourth.
Wahlert got buckets on consecutive trips from Herrig, Libby Perry and Nora King to open the final quarter and keep the Eagles within reach.
But Kay was too much for Wahlert. Hempstead’s steady senior post presence scored in bunches and was perfect from the free-throw line to help ice the game.
Allie Kutsch led Wahlert with 12 points. Herrig scored 10. Meier and Springer finished with nine points apiece for Hempstead.
“We had a pretty good inside presence. But the biggest thing we challenged the kids with tonight was playing good defense,” Smith said. “I think we did a good job with that.”