Andover Central girls win 43rd straight, hold off Kapaun

Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 9:30 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Andover Centrals perfect season continues with a 73-64 win over Kapaun in the 5A sub-state championship to advance to the state quarterfinal.

“It’s really special, especially how the state tournament ended last year with COVID-19,” said junior Brittany Harshaw. “Just getting to be here again is a really special feeling.”

The Jaguars jumped out to a 19-8 lead in the first quarter, out-rebounding the Crusaders and playing a high pressure defense that forced several turnovers through the first eight minutes of the night.

“We came out with a lot of energy and our coach always tells us turn our defense into offense and I think we did that tonight,” said Harshaw. “We got stops and it worked out for us in the end.”

The Jaguars were hot from the field in the first half, knocking down six threes, four of those coming from senior Bailey Wilborn, while the Crusaders hit just one triple. Andover Central led 32-21 at the half.

“I couldn’t do it without my teammates, they have really good passes and they know when to find me and where to find me,” said Wilborn. “Even if I miss I know they have my back and have confidence in me.”

The Crusaders heated up from the field in the second half, matching the Jaguars with with six threes. Kapaun outscored Andover Central 26-22 in the fourth quarter. A triple from sophomore Sophia Gimino would cut the Jaguars lead to five with 22 seconds left in the game, but Andover Central held on, knocking down a couple last second free throws to pull out a 9 point win.

Wilborn led all scorers with 26 points, Harshaw added on 20 and junior Ellie Stearns finished with 16.

“We out-rebounded them and pushed the ball as fast as we could and got back on defense,” said Wilborn. “I like how we played together as a team.”

Four Crusaders finished in double digits, with Senior Ella Anciaux, a Wichita State commit, leading the Crusaders with 22 points. Senior Jennifer Jacobs, junior Kaelin Quigley and sophomore Sophia Gimino added 17, 12 and 11 respectively.

“Ella is a really good player and she makes a difference out there,” said Harshaw. “We knew we had to stop her and get rebounds and focus in on our defense.”

With the win, Andover Central has now won 43 straight games. The Jaguars were 22-1 and in the semifinals of the 5A tournament when COVID-19 ended the season last year. While they said the winning streak fees good, they won’t be satisfied until they bring home the program’s first state title since 2010.

“It’s a great feeling but we have to make sure we go to practice the next coming days and work hard and keep grinding,” said Wilborn. “What happened last year is a lot of motivation, we just want to finish it out.”

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