SEDGWICK—For the first time in four years, the Sedgwick girls basketball tournament has a new champion.
Hutchinson Trinity topped Inman 39-34 on Saturday, Jan. 26, to claim the tournament crown. Remington, which won the past three titles, entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed.
Hutchinson Trinity (6-4) was the No. 3 seed while Inman (5-7) was seeded fourth. Trinity led 28-25 at the end of the third quarter.
Freshman Mariah Hammersmith increased the margin when she picked up the first bucket of the fourth quarter. Inman junior Kaitlyn Goalden answered with a three-pointer that left the Teutons trailing 30-28.
Freshman Naomi Williams’ basket near the two-minute mark kept the Teutons within two points, 34-32. Trinity sophomore Kayla Mesh managed a field goal that put the Celtics ahead 36-32, and Inman called for timeout with 47 seconds left in the game.
Following the break, Celtic sophomore Brooke Racette sank two free throws for a 38-32 advantage. Inman called another timeout at the 28-second mark.
When play resumed, Inman sophomore Abby Ropp missed a three-pointer and then Trinity junior Madison Watson was whistled for traveling. Ropp again missed a shot from the perimeter, but she was fouled and made two of three at the stripe.
With nine seconds on the clock, Trinity led 38-34. Following a Celtic timeout, officials penalized Inman senior Savanah Case with an intentional foul. That gave Trinity two free throws – Hammersmith made one – and possession of the ball.
Time expired, and Trinity emerged with a 39-34 victory. The Celtics had beaten Inman 44-38 in a regular-season game Jan. 8, but coach Michael Vieyra told them not to overlook the Teutons on Saturday. He pointed out that Inman’s Williams, a 5-10 freshman starter, did not play in the previous matchup.
“We were concerned a little, but we still thought we could win the ballgame,” Vieyra said after the championship.
He said it was crucial that when the Celtics were down, they did not dwell on it and kept working hard. That showed improvement from earlier in the season, he added.
“We didn’t play our best but we still won,” the coach remarked.
Vieyra said he wasn’t especially surprised that the top two seeds were absent from Saturday’s tournament final. He explained that some teams’ records were deceiving, and he said Class 3A Trinity had played several 4A schools this year. Inman, now 5-8 overall, is a member of 2A.
Only three Teuton players scored Saturday. Williams anchored the girls with 14 points, while Goalden followed with 12 and Ropp contributed eight.
Racette led Trinity with 18 points. Those named to the all-tournament team included Trinity’s Racette and Mesh as well as Inman’s Williams and Goalden.
Vieyra said he thought the tournament championship would help the Celtics (7-4) build momentum and confidence.
“We can compete with everybody,” he continued.