Hugoton girls advance to 3A sub-state finals in Larned

Hugoton sophomore Mikyn Hamlin (25) and the Lady Eagles forced 20 turnovers in the first half...
Hugoton sophomore Mikyn Hamlin (25) and the Lady Eagles forced 20 turnovers in the first half of Thursday's substate win over Holcomb.(Mike Courson)
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 11:40 PM CST
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LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - So far in the 2020-21 season, only Liberal has had an answer for the No. 2 Hugoton girls. Even the No. 8 Lady Redskins (6A) snuck by with just a 5-point win. Thursday evening in Larned, the Hugoton girls scored the first 18 points and kept up that pace through three quarters to down Holcomb 68-23. The Lady Eagles advance to Saturday’s Class 3A substate championship in Larned.

With the win, Hugoton moves to 21-1 overall. The Lady Eagles went an impressive 15-6 a year ago but lost a first-round substate game to Goodland.

“It’s just growth and experience,” said Hugoton coach Emmanuel Adigun. “Last year we played three freshmen, three juniors, and a sophomore. I brought basically 95 percent of the team from last year. I think maturity and experience has helped us this year.”

Thursday night that experience resulted in defense. And lots and lots of turnovers. The Lady Eagles forced 13 Holcomb turnovers in the first quarter and 20 giveaways by halftime.

“It’s just what we want to do,” Adigun said. “We want to try and create turnovers and generate some points off turnovers. It allows us to get into the flow of a game. We’re also able to grind it out if we need to. Tonight, I thought we were able to get our hands on some basketballs and get to the rim.”

A steal and assist from sophomore Summya Adigun to sophomore Kikyn Hamlin opened scoring 55 seconds in. Sophomore Giana Vos hit a three and scored on a putback, then Hamlin put in her own miss for a 9-0 score just three minutes in.

The rout continued early on back-to-back one-ones from Adigun and senior Jordyn Beard. The Lady Eagles led 18-0 before Holcomb freshman Rian Rodriguez got a runner to fall in the final minute of the first quarter.

The sophomores continued to score in the second for Hugoton. Hamlin led the way with six more points, Adigun added five points, and Vos scored four points in the frame. The result was a 42-11 lead by halftime.

Vos hit a 3-pointer just 20 seconds into the second half and scored eight of her game-high 18 points in the frame. Hamlin added four more points in the third to finish with 17 on the night, and Adigun scored four points in the third to finish with 15 points and six rebounds. Beard scored her 11 points in the first three quarters.

Holcomb junior Nicole Ruda paced the Lady Longhorns with nine points and six rebounds. Rodriguez added five points, and senior Blair Holliday hit a late three for her total.

The Lady Longhorns upset No. 4 seed Hoisington on the road Monday to advance to Thursday’s semifinals. Holcomb ends its season at 7-15.

Hugoton will face either Cimarron or Scott City in Saturday’s championship game. The Lady Eagles already have two convincing wins over each time, and as also responsible for No. 1 Sterling’s (2A) lone loss of the year.

“We just take it one quarter at a time,” Coach Adigun said of Saturday’s game. “I understand it’s a big moment for some kids. Trust the things you’ve worked so hard on to get to this point and do your very best. At the end of the day, if we go 32 minutes and go as hard as we can, and play as together as we can, at the end of the day I’ll be proud of my kids either way.”

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