Of the 18 basketball teams in the MCL, only two survived sub-state week. The Smith Center girls and Stockton boys had to eliminate another MCL school to advance in their respective sub-state championship games.
Only one team could emerge from a tough Plainville sub-state. The Lady Red were that team. Smith Center lost to Ellis in its first meeting, but downed the Lady Railers in February. Saturday, the Lady Red again topped Ellis 59-48 to advance to Manhattan. The game lived up to expectation with Ellis making a late run to force overtime. Colbie Decker paced the Lady Red with 16 points. Sydney Benoit added 12 points, and Trenna Cox and Blair McNary each scored 11 points. Smith Center (21-2) enters state as the No. 2 seed against Sedan (17-6) on Thursday.
For a half, No. 7 seed Smith Center seriously threatened No. 2 Oakley. The Plainsmen jumped out to a 20-13 first quarter lead before the Redmen bounced back for a 30-29 halftime score. Oakley regained control to take a 42-33 lead into the final frame. Payton Buckmaster tied for game-high scoring honors with 16 points. Taylor Zabel added 12 points and Kody Molzahn 10 points. Trevor Overmiller finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Smith Center finishes the year at 9-12.
The Stockton boys are headed to state. Playing bigger schools all season, the No. 1 seed Tigers cruised through the Osborne sub-state bracket, downing the host Bulldogs 57-30 in Saturday’s finals. Friday, the squad downed No. 4 Lakeside 57-34. Already leading that game 32-22 at the half, Stockton won the second half 25-7. Jaden Williams paced the team with 17 points, followed by Koby Beougher’s 16 points and Justin Wiltfong’s 13 points. The Tigers (17-6) head to Hays as the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 Hoxie (20-3) on Thursday.
The Lady Tigers, by seed, were not supposed to win at sub-state. No. 5 Stockton pulled off a minor upset with a 39-30 win against No. 4 Southern Cloud on Tuesday. Thursday, the girls could not get by top-seeded Thunder Ridge in a 48-27 loss. Stockton ends the year at 9-13. Thunder Ridge led in that game 33-14 at the half, then doubled-up the Tigers 26-13 in the second half. Four Stockton players scored in the loss, led by sophomore Morgan Beougher’s 20 points.
The Ellis girls fell, but not without a fight. Having split with Smith Center in the first two meetings of the year, Saturday’s final was one of the bigger match-ups around the state. Ellis heading into the final quarter but forced overtime before falling 59-48. Freshman Alexcia Deutscher iced a big first season with 22 points. Senior Bailey Hensley ended a nice career with a nine-point performance. The top-seeded Lady Railers downed Decatur Community 79-32 on Tuesday and beat Ness City 70-41 on Friday. They finish the season at 20-3.
Monday featured an MCL match-up in the first-round of the Plainville Class 2A sub-state. No. 3 seed Plainville took advantage of a home game by downing Ellis 49-42. The Railroaders fell behind 11-3 but dominated the next two quarters to take a 36-35 lead into the final quarter. Plainville answered with its best quarter of the night to take the seven-point win. Junior Scott Pfeifer was the lone Ellis player to hit double-figures with 14 points. Tyler Walters capped a nice career with seven points. Ellis closes the year at 13-8.
Despite hitting the post-season with a combined six wins, the Golden Eagle basketball squads each came out hot in the first round of their own Div. I sub-state. Monday, the girls took No. 4 seed Logan to overtime to eventually win 50-43. Their reward was a 69-25 loss to undefeated Hoxie on Thursday. Trego ends the year with a 3-17 record. Logan had to outscore the Lady Eagles 27-19 in the second half to force overtime on Monday. Junior Addie Zeman led Trego with 22 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Hailey Weigel added 11 points, and Peyton Desormiers finished with 10 points. Senior Bailee Fritts grabbed 10 rebounds.
The boys just came up short in a 60-57 double-overtime loss to No. 5 seed Rawlins County. Trego led that game 26-23 at the half, but fell behind 41-37 heading into the fourth quarter. Junior Clayton Riedl had another big night with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks, and three steals. Senior John Griffith capped a nice career with 14 points and six assists. Blake Huxman added nine points and six assists.
Both Bulldog basketball teams reached the championship game at their own Div. I sub-state site on Saturday. Unfortunately for Osborne, neither team could pull off the upset. The No. 2 seed Lady Bulldogs fell to top-seed Thunder Ridge 58-32. The girls downed Pike Valley 38-36 in the semifinals. After jumping out to a 15-8 lead in that game, Osborne was outscored 28-23 the rest of the way. The relatively young Bulldogs were led by junior Jessic Princ’s 14 points. She also grabbed six rebounds. Senior Rachel St. Clair and junior Taylor Noel each added eight points. The Lady Bulldogs finish their season at 16-6.
As the No. 6 seed, the boys seemed an unlikely team to qualify for state. They knocked off No. 3 Thunder Ridge 67-52 on Tuesday, then knocked-off No. 2 Pike Valley 57-42 on Friday. Saturday, the Bulldogs were unable to pull off the sweep, falling to No. 1 Stockton 57-30. In the Pike Valley win, the Bulldogs outscored the Panthers 42-24 in the second and fourth quarters combined. Sophomore Brandt Wolters scored 23 points in the win, and sophomore Parkes Wolters added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Osborne closes the 2012-13 campaign at 6-15.
The Blue Jays bowed out early at their own Class 3A sub-state. The Lady Jays escaped the first-round with a 43-41 win against Minneapolis. In the No. 2 vs. No. 3 match-up on Thursday, the girls fell to Ellsworth 52-27 to end the season at 12-10. In Wednesday’s win, the girls led 36-26 with a quarter to play and were able to hold off a late flurry by Minneapolis. Junior Katelyn Engelbert led the team with nine points and 10 rebounds. Juniors Bailey Ambrosier and Johnnye Ruder each added eight points. Senior Tawni Griffey finished her final game with eight points, six rebounds, and five assists.
The boys ran into No. 3 Hoisington in the first-round of a tough sub-state, falling to the Cardinals 72-30. Coming off a loss to end the regular-season, Hoisington made a point early to lead 41-12 by halftime. Senior Jacob Brooks scored eight of his 14 points in a three-minute flurry to open the second half. Tanner Furbush grabbed eight boards to go along with three points. The loss closes the book on a 7-14 year.
The Panther boys struggled to break into the tough Class 3A rankings all year. They finally ended up at No. in the final polls. The Norton sub-state was tough, featuring fifth-ranked Beloit and ninth-ranked Hoisington. Beloit dispatched Hoisington in the semifinals, then punched its ticket to state by downing Phillipsburg 65-58 on Saturday. Senior Seth Derr scored 15 points and grabbed four steals in the loss. Grant Wickham added 12 points. The Panthers close a solid year at 19-2.
The Lady Panthers struggled to score in their sub-state opener on the road at No. 4 seed Hoisington on Tuesday. With junior post Mattison Dusin being defended well in the middle, Phillipsburg made just 2-of-24 field goal tries in the first half to fall behind 35-13. They never recovered in a 57-38 loss, ending the season at 9-11. Freshman Katelyn Swanson scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter to stave off a continuous clock. Sophomore Mindy Gower added nine points, and junior Shania Wilkison finished with six points. Dusin still managed 10 rebounds to go along with four points.
The Ringneck basketball teams failed to advance past the first round of the Plainville Class 2A sub-state. The girls ran into No. 3 seed Oakley in a 63-48 loss. Hill City finishes its season at 8-13. The Lady Ringnecks actually led 28-25 at the break before the formerly-ranked Plainsmen put up 21 points in the third quarter and never looked back. Senior Shelby Stewart went out fighting with 20 points on 5-of-11 three-point shooting. Senior Megan Gansel added nine points, and senior McKenzie Cooper finished with eight points. Cooper added a team-high nine rebounds.
The Ringneck boys beat Ness City to the No. 4 seed and a home game for round-one by just one win. The No. 5 seed Eagles had the last laugh with a 60-57 win on Monday. Hill City finishes the 2012-13 campaign at 14-8.
The Cardinal boys finished a solid season on Thursday with a 70-55 loss to No. 2 seed Oakley in the seminfinals of their own Class 2A sub-state. No. 3 Plainville opened the post-season with a 49-42 win against Ellis on Monday. The teams played even through three quarters in Thursday’s semifinal, but Oakley outscored the Cardinals 25-10 in the third quarter and that proved to be the difference. Junior Hadley Gillium paced the team with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Nolan Weiser capped his big career with a 17-point game. Logan Frederking added 11 points. Senior Connor Collins dished out five assists to go along with two points. Plainville ends the year at 15-6.
The No. 4 seed Lady Cardinals played host to No. 5 seed Ness City on Tuesday. The once-ranked Lady Eagles pulled off the upset in a 65-56 game. Plainville finishes the season at 9-11.