North Scott's Grace Boffeli puts up a shot while being guarded by Nevada's Hattie Rhodes (42) and Lexy Koudelka on Tuesday in Des Moines. Boffeli is one of two freshmen starters for the Lancers as they take on Cedar Rapids Xavier today at 10 a.m.

Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal

ELDRIDGE — They are about a foot different in height.

Grace Boffeli is a 6-foot-1 post who does her damage around the basket. Presley Case is a speedy 5-2 guard who creates problems for opponents with her quickness.

“Everyone always looks at us and says, ‘How are you guys friends?’” Boffeli said.

As North Scott’s girls basketball team departed the school Thursday afternoon to head back to Des Moines for today’s 10 a.m. Class 4A state semifinal against Cedar Rapids Xavier, the two freshmen were together in the back of a mini-van.

“It is almost like they are sisters,” senior Karli Rucker said. “The chemistry is real similar to what it is between Rylie (Rucker) and I.”

North Scott is the only team in the Class 4A field to start two freshmen this week.

To this point, Boffeli and Case have not been overwhelmed by the big stage.

Boffeli had six points, four rebounds and two steals in Tuesday night’s 57-27 rout over second-ranked Nevada. Case tallied 10 points and six assists.

“Just being able to step into that type of environment, they were very calm and put together,” Karli Rucker said. “They just made good plays the whole game. You couldn’t fault their effort one bit."

Since Case moved to the North Scott school district in third grade, she and Boffeli have known each other. The friendship has grown each year, on and off the court.

“We always laugh with each other, always talk basketball together and we have a good bond,” Boffeli said.

They were AAU teammates in seventh and eighth grade. They were on the varsity roster at the beginning of the season.

Boffeli was in the Lancers’ starting lineup for the season opener. Case, daughter of head coach TJ Case, was inserted into the top five around mid-January.

For the season, Boffeli is averaging 6.2 points per game and is North Scott's leading rebounder. Case registers 5.7 points a contest and is second on the team with 21 made 3-pointers.

“This is pretty sweet knowing this has always been me and Grace’s dream to play in a state tournament game,” Case said. “Seeing it actually happen is pretty awesome.

“We’ve always been close, always had a good connection on and off the court.”

It bodes well for the future of North Scott’s program.

The Lancers made the state tournament during Karli Rucker’s freshman season. It took her three years to get back.

“It is pretty awesome to come in as freshman and get to state,” Case said. “We just have to keep working hard, trust ourselves and our teammates so that we can get back.”

First, the Lancers (19-5) are trying to extend this season.

They face an opponent with three girls 5-10 or taller, including 6-2 junior Amelia Ivester. The Saints were 7-6 on Jan. 20 but have reeled off 11 consecutive wins against primarily 5A competition.

Boffeli admitted the experience of matching up against Nevada 6-2 post Lexy Koudelka helps going into the matchup.

“I was very nervous last game having to guard a big girl,” she said. “Now I’m more confident I know I can do it.

“Second chances are going to be very important in this game. We need to box out.”

North Scott is seeking to make a state championship game for the first time since 1987.

“I was thinking all day (Thursday), ‘Man, there are only four teams left in our class,’” Karli Rucker said. “That’s kind of a big deal.

“Our goal going into the season was to get here. Now that we’ve won the first game, winning the second game would be another big step for us."