Undefeated St. John Hudson and Central Plains are celebrating state championship titles tonight in Manhattan, the Tigers have experienced this before while the Lady Oilers earn their first gold.
Late rally gives Washington County consolation victory
Erin Alexander had 23 points and 14 rebounds and Mandi Allerheiligen had 20 points on 7-14 shooting while Washington County (22-3) used a strong fourth quarter to defeat Meade 61-58 in Saturday’s consolation game.
The Tigers trailed through the first three quarters, but a basket from Alexander to open the final quarter gave them a 46-44 lead that they never gave up.
Turnovers plagued both teams as Meade (20-6) had 27 giveaways and Washington County had 29. They struck the Buffaloes hard in the final stretch as multiple unforced turnovers kept the win out of reach.
Bailey Olvera led Meade with 16 points on 3-12 shooting while Jaylin Stapleton had 10 points to pace the Buffaloes.
Olpe takes third in a game of runs
Joe Redeker had 17 points and Bo Krueger had 16 points as Olpe finished off its season with a 61-39 consolation win over St. Mary’s Colgan (19-6).
Olpe (22-4) struck early with eight points from Krueger on an opening 10-0 run. The Eagles managed to stretch their lead to 27-3 in the second quarter and 32-8 at halftime.
St. Mary’s Colgan answered Olpe’s dominance and cut the deficit to 41-31 after three quarters.
As soon as the Panthers had cut the lead to 10 points, the Eagles answered and stretched their lead back to 20 points with a second 10-0 run.
Austin Commons was the lone Panther to hit double figures as the junior finished with 12 points on 5-14 shooting.
Rolfs jumper gives Oilers the title
It wasn’t the first option, but Central Plains coach Pat Stiles won’t be complaining.
When leading scorer Reagan Phelan was covered up for the last-second shot attempt, the only option for a shot fell in the hands of sophomore Taylor Rolfs.
“Oh my gosh, I have to shoot this and make it because no one else is open,” Rolfs said of her thoughts in the moment.
As the words drifted through Rolfs’ mind, the sophomore kept her composure and sunk the game-winning shot with 1.4 seconds left, giving Central Plains (26-0) its first undefeated state championship in a 47-45 victory.
“Those two point-wise have carried us all year,” Stiles said of Rolfs and Phelan. “What better options than your two leading scorers?”
Stiles called a timeout prior to the play with 4.3 seconds and smiled ear-to-ear with his team’s execution.
“The block comes up and I had Taylor screening for Reagan,” Stiles said. “If Reagan didn’t get open, I knew that the roll girl would be open and our freshman (Janae Ryan) was smart enough to hit the roller, Taylor, and she buried it,” Stiles said.
The Chargers got one more opportunity, but Jacee Kramer’s mid-court heave bounced off the left side of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
With the game tied at 45 points, Jefferson County North held possession with just under a minute left. However, a costly turnover fell in the hands of Central Plains’ Kylee Kasselman, which led to the game-winning shot.
Kasselman stepped forward after an apparent knee injury knocked senior Breanna Holmes out of the game with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
The Oilers rallied around the senior’s departure and Stiles said the willingness of the girls to work out of their usual rotations was key.
“It really messed up our rotations,” Stiles said. “We ended up putting Kylee Kasselman in, who has hardly played any varsity time this year. She came in as a freshman and spelled us. We also had to move Taylor Rolfs to the five a few times.”
It wasn’t a pretty start offensively for the Oilers as they faced as big as an eight-point deficit in the first half.
Jefferson County North, who now has played in four consecutive state championship games while winning one of them, carried a team that has seven seniors.
“They’re not going to appreciate what they’ve done now, but when they look back and they’ve played in four (basketball championships) and one volleyball championship, you’ve got to be a good team to get those,” Jefferson County North coach Steve Noll said. “We’ve been a little snake bit, yeah, but we did get one championship. We’ve been in them, we just didn’t get things going our way.”
On the other end, Central Plains started one freshman and two sophomores against the Chargers’ experience.
“For our young kids to match those guys, we were very fortunate,” Stiles said. ”We fought hard and I’m very lucky to coach these girls. They’re just great kids.”
Reyes’ shooting from deep sends St. John to another championship
St. John coach Clint Kinnamon wasn’t sure what he’d get out of senior Zuriel Reyes after playing three games in three days. Having suffered an ankle injury prior to sub-state, the Tigers’ sharpshooter responded with the tournament’s highest scoring performance.
Behind 27 points from the Tigers’ (26-0) senior, St. John beat Plainville 71-58 to claim its second consecutive championship. The Tigers won last year’s Class 1A-Division I state tournament in Emporia.
“He was starting to get a little bounce back that he hadn’t had,” Kinnamon said of Reyes’ injury. “He’s only been back for three days and that was good to see.”
Logan Frederking led the No. 3 seed with 19 points while Hadley Gillum chipped in 14 points to pace the Cardinals (23-3).
The warning lights came on for the Tigers when Dean Wade picked up his second foul less than two minutes into the game.
While Plainville went on to build its largest lead of the game at 24-17 with 5:53 left in the second quarter, Kinnamon couldn’t wait any longer to play his 6-foot-8 forward.
“I was about nervous as they come when putting him back in with two (fouls),” Kinnamon said. “We were basically playing them even but at one time we got down six or seven with him not on the floor. But our kids didn’t panic without him being on the floor.”
Wade responded by adding four free throws in a scoring spurt that pushed the Tigers to a 14-4 scoring run and a 31-28 lead at halftime.
Wade had been working through back issues from Friday’s semifinal win, but still scored 19 points. Kinnamon said following the game that Reyes’ was playing at 85 percent while Wade was only at 75 percent.
Reyes pitched in eight of his points in the final three minutes of the half by knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers.
Plainville tied the game at 31 just 11 seconds into the second half, but depth began to play an issue for the Cardinals.
St. John was able to rest its starters in its quarterfinal victory while Plainville dealt its full deck in its opening two victories.
Kolt Newell knocked down his third trey of the third quarter to cut the Tigers lead to 55-50 at the end of the third quarter, but Reyes’ and company wouldn’t fold.
“We hit a shot and he would hit a shot it seemed like every possession,” Plainville coach Chris Drees said. “That’s why they’re 26-0, they’re good.”