Ara-Borup yielded 32 points per game this season, while Maranatha scored over 87 points per game. Something had to give.
In a game played at Maranatha's pace, Ara-Borup held its ground.
Ada-Borup beat the Mustangs at their own game and capped off a perfect season with an 82-65 victory in the Class 1A championship Saturday at Williams Arena. The Cougars finished 32-0 and won their first title since 2009.
"It was definitely a run-and gun-affair," Cougars coach David Smart said. "We didn't know if that was going to bode well for us because they definitely can get up and down in transition."
It turns out an up-and-down style suited the Cougars just fine.
"They were able to move the ball through our traps," Mustangs coach Chris Buerman said. "They were able to move it faster than we were rotating and they found easy looks."
The Cougars pounded Mustangs on the interior, outscoring them 48-16 in the paint and outrebounding them 53-37. Three different Cougars — Elizabeth Birkemeyer (20 points, 10 rebounds), Lexi Merkens (17, 11), and Haley Poehler (10, 18) — recorded double-doubles.
"We knew we couldn't give them second shots," Poehler said.
Ada-Borup set the tone early with crisp ball movement leading to high-percentage chances. The Cougars shot 19-for-33 in the first half, with 34 of their 40 points coming from the paint.
The Cougars pushed the lead to 19 points after a layup by Morgan Miller with just under six minutes to play in the first half. But senior Lexi Lee kept the Mustangs in the game with 17 first-half points and pulled the deficit to 10 at halftime.
But the Mustangs never found the spark to mount a comeback in the second half. The 10-point halftime deficit was as close as the game would get.
"Our shots just weren't falling," said Lee, who finished with 32 points. The Mustangs shot 29 percent from the field.
"We've had some unbelievable teams," Smart said. "None of them have been able to go undefeated. That's one thing this group can always hang their hat on."