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Top-ranked Sterling girls pull away from Trinity

Sterling junior Bennie Horsch led all players with 29 points in Thursday’s 74-60 win over...
Sterling junior Bennie Horsch led all players with 29 points in Thursday’s 74-60 win over Wichita Trinity.(Mike Courson)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 10:43 PM CST
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STERLING, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - With Washburn’s dual-sport commit Austin Broadie on the floor, Wichita Trinity has already bounced in and out of the Class 4A basketball rankings this winter. The 6-1 senior got hers Thursday night with 28 points and eight rebounds but perennially-tough Sterling is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A for a reason. The Lady Black Bears used a 24-point fourth quarter to pull away from the Knights for a 74-60 win.

“I just thought we started to do some really good things,” said Sterling coach Jill Rowland. “Both teams were tired, both teams were in foul trouble. We got some good looks at the basket and some of my starters really stepped up.”

The sides traded leads most of the night before Sterling junior Kali Briar swished a three to tie the score at 50 with eight seconds to play in the third.

That kick-started the Lady Black Bear offense in the final eight minutes. Broadie gave the Knights their final lead on a putback just 15 seconds into the final frame, but Sterling answered with a 15-0 run over the next four minutes.

The Bears entered the double bonus just 62 seconds into the fourth quarter. Sterling made it count with nine makes on its first 11 attempts from the line.

“We’ve been shooting about 82 percent in our earlier games,” Rowland said. “We’ve been shooting the ball well from the line. We did not early on. We were 6 for 11 going into the half. I told them to relax and get focused, and I thought we were better on the line.”

Sterling junior Bennie Horsch scored the first six points for her side. She finished strong with 12 points in the final quarter on perfect shooting from the field and a free throw. Horsch led all players with 29 points and also grabbed five rebounds.

“She played a great game,” said Rowland. “She had the toughest defensive matchup (on Broadie). Sometimes that takes you out of your offensive game. That’s probably one of Bennie’s best games. She can always shoot threes, but as far as getting in, battling inside and finishing around the rim, that’s probably a big step for her.”

Horsch put up eight points in the first and Sterling got four points and four boards from junior Sadie Beagley in the opening quarter. Broadie picked up two steals off Sterling rebounds that led to three of her eight points in the quarter. Trinity led 19-14 after one.

“We wanted to her to keep her off the boards,” Rowland said. “We knew she’s a rebound hound where she’d put up shots and follow. We knew a lot about her and did our best to maintain her. I thought defensively we did okay.”

Broadie did most of Trinity’s scoring in the second with eight of the team’s 15 points. On the other end, Briar knocked down a pair of treys and junior Makenna Linden added another. Trinity junior Aubrey Winter was able to draw contact in the final seconds of the half and her free throw gave the Knights a 34-33 lead at the break.

Sterling regained the lead early in the third on a runner from Horsch. The Knights otherwise controlled the frame, pulling ahead 42-38 on a putback from Broadie midway through. Broadie added a basket and foul for a 46-43 score before Sterling got points from a Beagley putback and Briar’s big three just before the buzzer.

Broadie made eight of her nine shots from the stripe on the night on the way to her 28 points. Winter and Annie Duerksen each added nine points, and senior Lawson Shaffer grabbed eight rebounds to go with her two points.

Briar made four of her nine shots from the outside, finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds for Sterling. Beagley added 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Linden also reached double figures with 10 points and five rebounds.

With a tough schedule, Trinity enters the break with just one win on its resume. Sterling takes a perfect 5-0 record into Christmas and the New Year.

“It’s big,” Rowland said. “We can go relax and enjoy our big, long moratorium.”

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