HIGHLAND – A long and tough season ended for the Civic Memorial High School girl’s basketball team Monday night. The Eagles took on the Waterloo Bulldogs (19-10) in a Class 3A Regional Semifinal and lost by a final score of 68-54.

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After a very successful 32-6 campaign last season, one that saw the Eagles take fourth place at the state tournament, all eyes were on CM to see what they would do next.

What happened was sickness, injuries, and a rigorous schedule that led to a 13-19 record this season and an early postseason exit.

“Obviously, it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, but the kids never quit on us,” CM head coach Mike Arbuthnot said. “They stayed with it. I really appreciate the effort.”

The Eagles played a very familiar Waterloo team. The Bulldogs won both regular season meetings by scores of 54-35 and 47-28 and were led by senior Norah Gumm.

She stepped up for the third time in the Regional Semifinal matchup. Her 27 points and 12 rebounds marked her 17th double-double of the season. But she was just one of four players to score in double figures for Waterloo.

Sam Lindhorst scored 15 points, Liv Colson had 12, and Aubrey Heck had 10.

“We didn’t match up,” Arbuthnot said. “I don’t have anybody on this ball club that can match up with Gumm and then when they started knocking down threes it was just making it that much tougher. It’s hard to guard that inside stuff and also get back for the outside.”

Colson opened up the game’s scoring with back-to-back three-pointers before CM’s Marlee Durbin cut the lead in half with her own corner three. The teams went back and forth but it was Waterloo up 11-7 after one quarter.

Olivia Durbin opened the second period of play with a three to take an 11-10 lead, but that would be the last time the Eagles led. The Bulldogs went on a quick 9-2 run that helped them get to a 30-18 lead at the half.

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Aubree Wallace made back-to-back threes in the third quarter, but Waterloo’s offense couldn’t be denied. Every time CM got a basket, the Bulldogs went the other way. CM could not find a stop in the second half.

“Our defensive effort was just non-existent,” Arbuthnot said.

CM was down by as much as 19 points in the third quarter but never backed down. Wallace’s threes helped cut the lead back down to seven, but Waterloo still kept pace and led 50-39 after three.

CM, now in foul trouble in the final frame, tried hard, but shots didn’t go. Waterloo went on to the win as they keep fighting for the program’s first Regional Championship.

“I liked our effort in the second half much better than the first,” coach Arb said. “We fought and got back to a little bit in the second half, but not good enough.”

The Durbin sisters led CM’s scoring. Senior Olivia had 18 while freshman Marlee had 13. Junior Avari Combes finished with seven, Wallace with six, and senior Maya Tuckson with four. Senior Hannah Meiser and sophomore Avery Huddleston each scored three.

CM’s program says goodbye to four very special and talented seniors, Aubree Wallace, Olivia Durbin, Hannah Meiser, and Maya Tuckson, each one of them being a multi-sport athlete.

“I really appreciate these four seniors,” Arbuthnot said. “We’ve had quite a ride with these seniors, and I can’t thank them enough. Great leadership and just great kids all around.”

Waterloo will face Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland in the Regional Finals on Friday at 7 p.m.

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