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No. 2 seed Cimarron advances to finals in Larned

Cimarron junior Emily Acton defends a late drive from Scott City junior Amber Latta during...
Cimarron junior Emily Acton defends a late drive from Scott City junior Amber Latta during Thursday's substrate semifinal in Larned.(Mike Courson)
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 11:37 PM CST
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LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - With just five wins entering the postseason, No. 6 seed Scott City already had an upset under its belt in round one of the Class 3A substate tournament in Larned. Thursday night the Lady Beavers made a run at No. 2 seed Cimarron, but the Lady Jays hung on to advance with a 51-44 win.

Cimarron did well enough in the first half to lead 23-10 late in the second quarter. Scott City got a late basket from six-foot sophomore Broke Strine, then junior guard Amber Latta took a steal the distance for a 23-14 halftime score.

That momentum carried into the third quarter with baskets from junior Ella Rumford and Strine in the first minute. Junior Allison Patton turned a steal into a basket and foul, and Latta turned another steal into points for a 26-25 score just three minutes into the second half.

“Scott City came out a different team in the second half,” said Cimarron coach Eli Applegate. “They got to within one and (sophomore McKayla Miller) kind of took the game over. She hit a couple big shots and gave us a lot of momentum. We just carried that the rest of the way.”

Miller hit a 3-pointer in the third to keep the Beavers at bay but she turned it up late in the period. She poked the ball away to junior Jacee Wilson for a pair of free throws to end Scott City’s run.

Miller was even bigger yet in the final two minutes of the third. She took a rebound coast to coast for two, then swished a trey with 39 ticks on the clock. Even that was outdone by another 3-pointer, this time a buzzer beater to send the Lady Jays into the fourth quarter with a 38-26 lead.

In well-flowing fourth quarter, the teams nearly split 23 points in just over three minutes of action. Cimarron pulled ahead 48-33 on a Miller basket with 4:40 remaining.

The Lady Beavers made one more run at their season. Twice in the final 2:32, Latta scored off turnovers to get as close to 49-42 with 1:50 to play. Miller had a pair of big assists in the fourth quarter, including one to sophomore Caitlyn Sonday which proved to be a final nail in the coffin with 65 ticks on the clock.

Early on, Cimarron used stout full-court defense to build a 13-4 lead after one quarter. The Lady Jays forced several turnovers on Scott City inbounds plays underneath the basket. A Taryn Jantz steal and assist led to a basket from Jayna Wilson in the final seconds of the opening frame.

“We wanted to pressure up and try to force some turnovers,” Applegate said. “That’s a new look they haven’t seen before. We just tried to catch them off guard.”

Strine and Latta did most of the scoring for Scott City (6-15 overall) with 17 and 13 points, respectively. Strine grabbed seven of her nine rebounds in the first half.

After registering just five points and three rebounds in the first half, Miller finished strong with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and some big assists. Lady Jay junior Emily Acton scored eight of her 10 points in the first half, and Sonday scored six of her 10 points in the final eight minutes.

Cimarron moves to 16-5 on the season heading into Saturday’s substate championship game against second-ranked Hugoton (21-1). The Lady Eagles already have two convincing wins against Cimarron this season.

“Hugoton is a good team,” Applegate said. “They’re well coached and they play well together. It’s a tough task but tomorrow we’re going to go back to practice and get ready. We’re going to go in with the mindset of trying to stay up with them.”

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