What a finish: Fleischmann’s dagger gives Ballard the 4A state title with 47-45 win over Glenwood

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

DES MOINES – With 46 seconds left No. 2 Ballard was coming out of a timeout down two points to No. 1 Glenwood in the Class 4A championship game of the girls’ state basketball tournament Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena. 

Ballard assistant coach Kelvin Adams drew up a play to get the ball to 3-point ace Josie Fleischmann. Fleischmann got the ball, but not in the spot she wanted. 

Instead of going straight to the top of the key she found herself pushed out to the wing on the left side farther away from the basket than she wanted to be. She got the ball behind the NBA 3-point line and with Glenwood's Coryl Matheny coming at her decided to fire up a shot anyways. 

As she was falling down Fleischmann heard this loud roar from the Ballard crowd. 

“I was praying to God it went in,” Fleischmann said. “Or that I got fouled.” 

The ball headed toward the rim and then – swish. 

“It was awesome,” Fleischmann said. “But we still had to get a stop on defense.” 

Ballard was up 46-45 with 36 seconds left. Glenwood took possession, worked the ball to leading scorer Jenna Hopp, who tried to power up a shot on Ballard defensive ace Molly Ihle. Ihle forced Hopp to take a difficult shot that was off the mark. 

“We lockdown, stare at their bellybuttons and make sure they don’t cross you,” Ihle said. “Defense wins championships and we locked down.” 

Ihle got the rebound and was fouled. She made the first free throw, but missed the second.  

That forced Hopp to throw up a desperation 3 from near half court and it was of the mark.   

Final score: Ballard 47, Glenwood 45. 

An emotional Molly Ihle pulls teammate Brooke Loewe down on the floor to give her a huge hug following No. 2 Ballard's dramatic 47-45 comeback win over No. 1 Glenwood in the 4A championship of the girls' state basketball tournament Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The Bombers won their first state title since 2009.

“It’s the best feeling in the whole wide world,” Ihle said. “I can’t even describe it.” 

 Ballard had to overcome a 36-27 deficit in the fourth quarter to claim its second state championship and first since 2009. 

“It’s just amazing how resilient these girls have been – just amazing,” Ballard head coach Kelly Anderson said. “Down nine in the fourth quarter and to come back and have Josie put up a shot like that to put us up. It’s unbelievable and these kids deserve it so much.” 

Ballard senior forward Josie Fleischmann fires a three-point field goal against Glenwood on Saturday, March 6, 2021, during the Iowa high school girls state basketball tournament Class 4A finals at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The Bombers finished their amazing season with a 24-1 record.  

The Bombers have been the best defensive team in 4A, if not the entire state, all season. Glenwood’s Madison Camden torched that defense during the first three quarters with six field goals, including four 3-pointers. 

But when it mattered Ballard was impenetrable. Glenwood only scored four points in the final 6:38 of the game – all coming from the foul line. 

“That’s what got us back in it,” Anderson said. “We got stops.” 

But the offense was the key. A team that had been inconsistent on that side of the ball for most of the season delivered huge in crunch time on Saturday.” 

“We said this was going to be the breakout today with our offense,” Anderson said. “We were going to score a little more than 30 today and we did.” 

Brooke Loewe got Ballard going in the fourth quarter with two strong drives to the rim. She finished with 16 points and five steals and was an all-tournament selection. 

Ballard junior Brooke Loewe drives the ball to the basket as Glenwood's Abby Hughes covers her in the third third quarter on Saturday, March 6, 2021, during the Iowa high school girls state basketball tournament Class 4A finals at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“It really started our run,” Loewe said. “With those two buckets and then Josie comes down and hits a 3 and we were right back in the game again.”  

Fleischmann ended up with 19 points. Meg Rietz had four points and two assists and Cassidy Thompson two rebounds and one block. 

Ihle scored five points and was a monster on the boards with a game-high 13 rebounds. That combined with her amazing defensive effort – she had four steals and helped hold Hopp to 4 of 14 shooting – showed why she was named the 4A all-tournament captain. 

Ballard senior guard Molly Ihle calls a play in the third quarter against Glenwood as she brings the ball up court on Saturday, March 6, 2021, during the Iowa high school girls state basketball tournament Class 4A finals at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“Incredible what she does,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t matter if the other girl is seven inches taller than she is she’s going to get it done.” 

Glenwood ended its season at 21-4. Hopp had 14 points and 11 rebounds to complement Camden, who ended up with a game-high 20 points. 

Ballard 47, Glenwood 45 

B   10   11    6   20 – 47 

G     6   19   11    9 – 45 

Ballard (47) - Brooke Loewe 7-18 0-0 16, Meg Rietz 1-4 2-6 4, Cassidy Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Josie Fleischmann 6-15 2-4 20, Molly Ihle 1-7 4-5 6, Kylie Rigby 0-2 0-0 0, Sydney Briggs 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Wuestenberg 0-1 0-0 0, Lily Hillebrand 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-50 8-15 47. 3-point field goals (7): Fleischmann 5, Loewe 2. Rebounds (28): Ihle 13. Assists (6): Loewe 2, Rietz 2. Steals (11): Loewe 5. Blocks (1): Thompson. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Rietz, Thompson. 

Glenwood (45) - Jenna Hopp 4-14 6-8 14, Coryl Matheny 2-3 2-5 6, Abby Hughes 1-4 1-1 4, Madison Camden 6-10 4-8 20, Elle Scarborough 1-5 0-0 2, Emma Hughes 0-0 0-0 0, Brynlee Arnold 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 14-37 13-22 45. 3-point field goals (4): Camden 4. Rebounds (34): Hopp 11. Assists (5): Matheny 2, Scarborough 2. Steals (3): Hopp, Hughes, Scarborough. Blocks (2): Camden, Scarborough. Fouls: 12.