The Eagles are Back, Back Again

FORT DODGE, Iowa – Up a Class, no problem for the West Hancock Eagles who punched their second-straight trip to the Iowa High State Girls’ Basketball tournament here tonight. The second-rated West Hancock Eagles defeated #15 Panorama, 67-28.

West Hancock Coach, Paul Sonius –

West Hancock, last year’s Class 1A Runners-up, will return to Wells Fargo Arena next week but will have to battle through the Class 2A field instead. The Eagles haven’t played in the Class 2A tournament since 2012, falling to Pella Christian in the first round. That was also the second-straight year they’d made the trip to Des Moines; and played in the 1A field the year before.

The young Panthers, led by sophomore Sharpshooter, Payton Beckman, made the first shot of the game and led early 3-0. Following the made three, West Hancock went the other way and scored, got a steal and scored, and got a turnover, which led to yet another score. The Eagles stormed out to the lead 8-3, and never looked back. They finished the run by scoring two more baskets and led 12-3.

West Hancock Senior, Amanda Chizek –

The Eagles would continue scoring, and the defense stayed strong, giving West Hancock a 24-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Panorama started the second quarter just as they started the first, scoring. The Panther knocked down their first two shots, 5 points, and closed the gap to 14. Two-time returning all-state guard, Rachel Leerar, quickly put an end to that run with a three-pointer for the Eagles; that led to an 8-0 West Hancock run halfway through the second. West Hancock’s other returning two-time all-state player, Amanda Chizek, aided in the run.

West Hancock Coach, Paul Sonius

West Hancock went into the locker room with an overwhelming, 42-13 lead. While most were making plans for Des Moines next week, the Eagles were focusing in the locker room to have a strong second half.

West Hancock Junior, Rachel Leerar –

Panorama used a big second half come back against IKM-Manning in the regional semifinal, but the Eagles were too determined to get back to the big stage to let that happen. Chizek 20 points, Leear 18, and Mahayla Faust 10 led the way scoring.

West Hancock Junior, Rachel Leerar –

Following all eight regional finals, the IGHSAU released the Class 2A pairings and as expected, the Eagles were seeded second. They will play their opening-round on Wednesday at 10 am, and they will play 12th ranked and seventh-seeded Logan-Magnolia. The Panthers defeated 13th ranked AHSTW 36-35 to advance.

West Hancock Coach, Paul Sonius –

Junior Rachel Leerar thinks preparation will be key –

How will West Hancock get the wins they need next week? Senior Amanda Chizek explains –

KIOW will have full coverage from next week’s state tournament here on and live Play by Play from Des Moines.

Link to IGHSAU Tournament Brackets 

Zarren Egesdal is the Sports Director of KIOW/KHAM. Do you have a story idea? Contact him at 641-585-1073 or


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