Second-ranked Hugoton girls punch ticket to state with easy win
Hugoton girls roll to state tournament
LARNED, Kan. - It was close and then it wasn’t. The top-two seeds meet in Saturday’s Class 3A substate semifinal game in Larned. Cimarron hung around early, even leading 12-7 midway through the first quarter. Second-ranked Hugoton answered with a 14-4 run to take the lead, then shut down the Lady Jays in the second half to pull away 60-33. Hugoton moves to 21-1 on the season and hosts Phillpsburg in Monday’s state quarterfinal game.
“I’m just happy for my seniors,” said Hugoton coach Emmanuel Adigun. “They were able to go to state their first year. I know it’s been a very important goal for them to get back. I’m just happy, honestly, that we have an opportunity to play in another state tournament with my seniors. That’s what gives me my feeling of elation.”
Cimarron sophomore McKayla Miller scored on a putback and a long jumper for six quick points to give the Lady Jays the 12-7 lead less than four minutes into the game. Hugoton sophomore Mikyn Hamlin answered with a basket and foul on an inbounds play, and a putback from senior Jordyn Beard gave the Lady Eagles the lead for good at 16-15 with 1:25 to play in the first.
“Our basketball team has, all year, just tried to find ways to get better,” Adigun said. “One of the components we really had to improve in is our ability to fight through adversity and tough times. I think we’ve started growing in that area in the last month and a half. I’m extremely pleased we were able to withstand that first punch from Cimarron. They’re a good basketball team with a really good coach.”
Hugoton sophomore Gianna Vos took a steal the distance and added a free throw seconds later to cap a 14-4 Lady Eagle run. Cimarron was able to tie the game once more at 23 on a 3-pointer from Miller and a jumper from junior Emily Acton.
The Lady Eagles closed out the half on a 9-0 run. Cimarron had the opportunity at a last shot but Hugoton senior Molly McClure came up with a timely steal. Miller fouled McClure for her third foul of the game with just two seconds to play in the half. The Lady Eagles led 32-23.
Hugoton held Cimarron to just 10 points in the final two quarters, including a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter. Beard scored on back-to-back trips down the floor in the third for a 41-26 score, and the advantage was 43-31 heading into the fourth.
Miller scored eight of her 17 points in the first quarter and also grabbed five rebounds. Sophomore Caitlyn Sonday added six points, and freshman Jayna Wilson had eight rebounds, all in the first half.
Beard scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Hugoton. Adigun’s sophomores once again led the way. Vos finished with 17 points and five boards, Summya Adigun added eight points and 10 rebounds, and Hamlin, in an off night, still scored 14 points.
“They were locked in from day one,” Adigun said of his sophomores. “Those kids have a lot of pressure from outside sources with all the success they’ve had as individual players. I know it feels good for them to be able to do something with their team, and just be a small part in a bigger goal for us. They don’t care about the accolades and the points. All they cared about was helping get their sisters, their seniors, to the state tournament.”
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