CRYSTAL CITY — A driving layup by Mackenzie Wipfler and subsequent 3-pointer by Gretchen Koller pushed Valle Catholic to an early lead in Saturday’s Class 2, District 4 championship game.
But scoring in the half-court proved to be a difficult task against a New Haven squad that had allowed 50 points to one opponent all season.
Junior guard Rachel Steinhoff directed a disciplined effort with 24 points and the top-seeded Lady Shamrocks committed just six turnovers while posting a methodical 37-25 win.
New Haven (18-10) advanced to face Bismarck in the state sectional round on Wednesday after holding Valle Catholic (18-9) to just 30 percent shooting and forcing 19 turnovers.
Koller scored 12 points in her final varsity game while Wipfler added eight points and eight rebounds. The Lady Warriors stayed within a manageable deficit despite enduring two scoring droughts of at least five minutes in duration.
A basket from senior Lacie Luttrell made it 18-15 after Koller converted a pair of 3-point plays earlier in the second quarter.
Steinhoff, who scored off several early backdoor cuts, answered with a key 3-pointer before the break, and New Haven yielded only four made field goals during the second half.
The Lady Shamrocks established their largest lead at 35-20, but finished the game without junior forward Emily Kallmeyer following a knee injury in the second quarter.
Valle Catholic made a solid push to within one game of the state playoffs after going 10-15 last season.