Achieving perfection is difficult, but heading into Saturday's 1A Division II championship two teams will enter with unblemished records. Finishing on Saturday will be no easy task.
Girls Semifinal #1: Ingalls 53, Wilson 42
The Ingalls girls were one of those undefeated teams at 24-0. They spent a large part of the season as the number one ranked team in Class 1A Division II. In the semifinals they would meet the other team who spent a good chunk of the season ranked number one this season, the 21-2 Wilson Lady Dragons.
For the first half the two teams stood toe to toe, with the Lady Bulldogs grabbing a three point lead after one quarter and a two point lead at the half.
Ingalls turned up the intensity in half number two, going on an 18-5 run in the third quarter. More importantly, the Lady Dogs were able to shut down Wilson star Karlie Steinle, holding her to just under half of her season average.
Wilson did keep battling and closed the gap in the forth quarter, but the damage was already done. Ingalls picke up the 11 point win and claimed it's place in the championship game.
Ingalls have been to three straight state tournaments, but this will be it's first appearance in the title game.
"This is going to be out first time in the state championship game and it's going to be fun," said Ingalls coach Roger Thurlow. "The girls are fired up, they came out with a lot of energy, played their hearts out and beat a very, very good Wilson team."
Girls Semifinal #2: Norwich 32, Golden Plains 29
The Lady Eagles and Lady Bulldogs came into Friday's semifinals a combined 44-3. That didn't stop them from getting out to a shaky start on the big stage in Hays. Both teams struggled to make shots, resulting in Golden Plains holding a 4-3 lead after one quarter.
It looked like the two teams found their footing in the second quarter, with the Lady Dogs opening up a 19-11 halftime lead. GP would grow the lead to as many as 12, which seemed like it was an insurmountable lead considering Norwich had just 11 first half points.
The Lady Eagles chipped away a lead, going on top for the first some since early in the game with five minutes to go.
The game came down to free throws. Twice the Lady Bulldogs hit just one of two free throws, the second of which would have tied the game and gave Golden Plains a chance to send the game to over time.
Norwich on the other hand hit to big free throws with six second left in the game. Golden Plains couldn't get a good look at a three an a two point shot at the buzzer hit the front iron.
Boys Semifinal #1: Fowler 75, Wallace Co 63
The other undefeated team in Hays was the Fowler Goldbugs. Like the girls from Ingalls, they are making their third straight appearance at state. They finished third at the state tournament one season ago and are looking to close the deal this season.
The jumped all over Wallace County, grabbing a 22-8 lead after one quarter. The game turned into a track meet in the second and third quarters with the two teams combining for 35 points in the second quarter and 32 in the third. The problem for the Wildcats is they were still down nine after three.
Wallace County was able to get as close as seven, but they could get no closer. The Goldbogs had four players in double figures, lead by a monster game from Jett Reese who put up 24 points and 14 rebounds.
"These kids have works so hard for so many years to get to this point," said Folwer head coach Scott Brown. "They've played in big games before, we were here last year. I knew they were going to be ready to play."
Boys Semifinal #2: Axtell 56, White City 29
The most unlikely participant in Saturday's state championship party is Axtell. The Eagles came into the state tournament as the seven seed and with eight losses on the season. But they disposed of second seeded Central Christian on Thursday and then rolled third seeded White City on Friday.