DES MOINES — With about two minutes left in its Class 1A state quarterfinal, the Bellevue Marquette student section started chanting, "Shave the mustache."
It's been about 40 years since he's been clean-shaven, but Mohawks head coach Jim Kettmann isn't one to go back on his word.
"One night at practice, about a month-and-a-half ago, (senior Macey Kremer) said 'If we get to state, will you shave your mustache?'" Kettmann said. "I said, 'No. If we make it state and win a game, then I will.'"
Thanks to Kremer and classmate Lizzy Parker, the mustache is coming off.
The two senior guards combined for 33 points as No. 7 Bellevue Marquette grabbed a 62-49 win over No. 6 Clarksville on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena. The Mohawks face top-ranked and unbeaten Newell-Fonda at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Kremer and Parker entered the game averaging 8.2 and 6.3 points, respectively, but were all over the court, each grabbing four rebounds and Parker adding three steals.
"I think it’s easy to tell we’re a pretty selfless team," said Kremer, who had 14 points. "When they shut the post down, the guards will take over, and when they shut the guards down ... the post can do their thing. Either way, we're pretty even across the board, which is nice. I think it’s pretty hard to stop a team or control a team that can utilize every player."
The Mohawks (22-2) struggled to get their post game going in the first half. Miranda Peters, Teona Richman and Tori Michel came into the game accounting for nearly 64 percent of Marquette's offense but combined for just eight points in the first 16 minutes.
Thanks to Kremer and Parker, the Mohawks held a 29-26 lead at the break, going on a 12-0 run in the second quarter — eight of those points scored by the two guards — before the Indians (20-3) countered with a 7-0 run to close out the half.
"We went into it knowing they were going to get shut down because of the tapes," said Parker, who scored a team-high 19 points and was 3-of-6 from the 3-point line. "Our previous games we usually give it to the posts and let them finish and let them do their jobs. Coming out, I knew I had to step up and do my job too and sink some shots."
You have free articles remaining.
Though offense was an issue at times for Bellevue Marquette's big three, they did a strong job defensively and on the glass. Clarksville struggled to get layups and shot just 18-of-59 in the game, 2-of-21 from the 3-point line in its first ever trip to the state tournament.
It allowed the Mohawks to build on their lead in the second half, opening up a 46-34 lead after three quarters, which became 57-37 midway through the fourth.
"The girls are continuing to learn every single time they take the floor," Clarksville head coach Ross Timmermans said. "Our gameplan was to be quicker, especially on the defensive end, and I thought we were, got around their bigs and poked the ball loose a few times. We just didn't convert on the other end like we're used to doing."
Peters had a strong second half and finished with 14 points while Richman and Michel combined for 25 of the team's 45 rebounds.
"Once we got the momentum turned around, got the energy going for us, everyone plays collectively better," Peters said. "When our defense plays well and we're able to get a few shots on defense, it turns on the motor for offense."
All season, the Mohawks have flown somewhat under the radar. They started the season unranked but have used a 16-game winning streak to catapult them to the state semifinals.
Their next challenge are the top-ranked Mustangs, who created 43 turnovers in a 69-39 win over Springville.
"We have to play our own game. They're really fast, they're really good and their ranking serves them well," Peters said. "They definitely deserve that spot, and if we want to win, we can't let them control the game. We have to control the game."
And for those wondering, Kettmann won't shave the mustache until after the season.
"I don't want to change anything," Kettmann said. "I'm a little superstitious."