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Spearville girls threepeat in Keady Classic thriller

Spearville beat Hoisington 53-50 to win their third straight Keady Classic Championship Saturday
Spearville beat Hoisington 53-50 to win their third straight Keady Classic Championship Saturday(Mike Courson)
Published: Dec. 12, 2020 at 8:33 PM CST
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LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Leading 45-23 at the start of the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Keady Classic championship game in Larned, No. 2 Spearville (2A) looked a sure thing to win its third-consecutive tournament. Hoisington had other plans. The Lady Cardinals took advantage of a key foul out and got as close as two points in the final minute before the Lady Lancers escaped with a 53-50 win.

“We mixed in our press and match-up zone really well,” Spearville coach Todd Cossman said of the 23 points allowed through three quarters. “I thought we did really well on that. We just freaked out a little bit at the end. We were able to, at least down the stretch, pull the game out.”

Spearville senior Alissa Heskamp showed off her scoring ability with a tournament-record 38 points in round two against Larned. Thirty of those points came in the first half. She again showed tenacity in the third quarter Saturday with a pair of threes and 10 points in just over three minutes to begin the third quarter. With that effort, Spearville pulled ahead 42-18.

Hoisington’s comeback began late in the third on a Keeley Wolf trey, but the Lady Cards still trailed by 22 with just eight minutes to play.

Lady Cardinal junior Macy Hanzlick scored early in the fourth, then senior Suzanna Schneider knocked down a three for a 45-28 score with seven minutes left in the game. Then the big foul came: Heskamp reacted and was part of a double-technical call. She headed to the bench with 24 points and a handful of steals to go with her five fouls.

Then the fun began. Hoisington sophomore Addy Mason connected on three crucial threes early in the fourth. Her third make included a foul inside that sent Steele Brack to the free throw line for a 50-43 score with 3:40 remaining.

“I think we just started getting some momentum,” Lady Cardinal coach Mandy Mason said. “We were hitting some shots from the outside. It just seemed like, at that point, everything was clicking for us. (Heskamp is) a tremendous player, so that was a benefit for her to foul out of the game. We were able to change a lot of things we were doing defensively when she went out. I think that gave us a lot of energy and gave us a spark.”

Spearville sophomore Taegan Pedigo halted the comeback temporarily with a pair of free throws but the Lady Cards kept coming. Hanzlick intercepted an inbounds pass and missed her shot but Livvy Brewer was there for the putback. Hanzlick turned another steal into a free throw, then Keeley Wolf’s diving steal at midcourt led to a Hanzlick basket to cut the gap to 52-50 with 37 seconds to play.

Hoisington had an opportunity to pull ahead but a miss resulted in a free throw from Pedigo. Now trailing by three, the Lady Cards tried one final time to tie the game before Pedigo’s board effectively ended the game.

“It was the foul then (senior Addie Nau) hitting her face on the wall,” Cossman said. “The combination of those two things shook us a bit. We were able to regain our composure and finish the game.”

Heskamp scored eight points in the first quarter as the Lady Lancers built a 15-11 lead. Schneider’s 3-pointer in the second quarter was Hoisington’s only field goal in the frame. Spearville led 28-16 at the half before Heskamp’s big run to open the third quarter.

Spearville senior Alissa Heskamp (left) broke a 16-year-old Keady Classic record with 86 points...
Spearville senior Alissa Heskamp (left) broke a 16-year-old Keady Classic record with 86 points in the 3-game tournament.(Mike Courson)

Heskamp’s 38 points on Thursday broke a 4-year old tournament record of 36 set by St. John’s Tara Nelson. Her 86 points in the tournament earned her MVP honors and broke a 16-year-old record of 79 points set by Haviland’s Audra Binford in 2004.

Pedigo finished with 11 points and six points for Spearville. Nau added nine points and 11 boards. She temporarily left the game late in the fourth quarter after chipping several teeth on a baseline fall.

Mason scored 10 of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead Hoisington. Schneider added nine points, and Wolf, Hanzlick, and Brewer each finished with six points.

Hoisington moves to 2-2 on the season with losses to ranked teams in Central Plains and Spearville. The Lady Lancers were still among the teams playing in the state semifinals last March, and Spearville is 4-0 to open the season.

“I think we’ve played three of the toughest teams we’re going to play all year,” Cossman said. “We played a game at South Central before the tournament. We played St. John here, and they’re a great team. We played a really tough Hoisington team. Obviously we still have some things we need to work on but I really like where we’re at at this point in the season.”

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