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Victoria girls pull off upset to win Winter Jam

Victoria defeated Cimarron to take home the Winter Jam crown
Victoria defeated Cimarron to take home the Winter Jam crown
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 3:01 PM CST
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HOISINGTON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - One of just three Class 1A teams at the Cardinal Winter Jam in Hoisington, the Victoria girls already had their work cut out for them. To win the tournament, the Lady Knights would have to topple the top-two seeds in the tournament. After a win against No. 2 seed Ellinwood on Thursday, Victoria came from behind to beat top-seeded Cimarron 58-52 in Saturday’s championship game.

“That felt really good,” said Victoria coach Kristin Werth. “I knew our girls had the potential to do it and I think they did, too. Their hard work is paying off. It gives us a good confidence boost for the rest of our season. We have some tough match-ups toward the end of our season.”

The Lady Knights fell behind 31-25 three minutes into the third quarter. That changed when senior Lydia Sander scored inside, then a Kaitlyn Windholz steal led to two more points from Sander. Back-to-back treys from Melany Huser and Macy Hammerschmidt capped a quick 12-0 run and put Victoria back on top 37-21 with 2:19 to play in the frame.

Cimarron sophomore McKayla Miller ended the third quarter with a basket and foul to keep the Lady Jays in the mix. Miller averaged 23 points in the three tournament games and finished with 25 points and eight rebounds Saturday, but Cimarron otherwise struggled to just 5-of-23 shooting in the first and third quarters.

“She’s good, especially for a sophomore,” Werth said of Miller. “She’s an all-around complete player, inside and outside. It’s tough to stop people like that. I think our defense has improved a lot and we’ve really focused on that the last couple of years. We take a lot of pride in our defense when we do stuff like this.”

The Lady Knights went 12 for 18 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes. A 3-pointer from Cimarron junior Emily Acton cut the lead to 44-42 with 5:10 remaining, but Victoria senior Brooklyn Kuhn was fouled just seconds later to put the Knights into the double bonus. Kuhn made one of her free throws and sank a clutch trey with 3:17 to play to keep Victoria ahead 50-45.

Kuhn scored all nine of her points in the final frame for Victoria. Huser added eight of her team-high 21 points in the quarter. Hammerschmidt added a pair of free throws in the frame to finish with eight points.

“We didn’t settle being up by four of five points,” said Werth. “We ran with it when we were able to. They kept it within five the majority of the quarter, but I felt like we were in control. That’s what we needed to be able to win the game.”

Early on it was Miller as the dominating force with six points and four rebounds in the first quarter. Huser scored the first five Victoria points on the other end and the Lady Knights led 10-8 after one period.

Four Lady Jays scored in the second quarter with threes from Miller and sophomore Taryn Jantz. Trailing 23-19 at the half, Victoria tied things up early in the third with treys from Windholz and Kassi Weber. That leveled the score at 25 before Cimarron went on its 6-0 run.

“I told the girls not to give up,” Werth said. “Sometimes being down doesn’t mean the game is over. As a player that’s tough to grasp. When you see a little light and take advantage of it, I’m glad we can pull out of slumps when we get in them.”

Cimarron junior Melody Carder finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in the loss. Junior Jacee Wilson scored all six of her points in the second half.

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