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Hugoton stuns Lakin with late comeback in 3A Sub-State Final

Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 8:54 PM CST
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LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The third time was supposed to be the charm for Lakin. The Broncs played in their third-straight substate championship Saturday in Larned, hoping to get over the hump of two heartbreakers in the last two seasons. But it happened again. Lakin led 54-49 with just two minutes to play before Hugoton closed out regulation with a 10-0 run to steal a 59-54 win and advance to state.

We know those Lakin kids well,” said Hugoton coach CJ Korf. “Several of our kids play together on a traveling team in the summer, and we play each other in the summer with our high school teams. You feel for those kids. They’re a good team. I really felt like going into this substate there were four teams that could win it. Holcomb didn’t play their best last night but they’re a good team as well. That’s just postseason basketball.”

Lakin senior Jace Bachman converted a steal into points for a 48-42 lead with 5:14 remaining. Hugoton countered with a 3-point play from senior Wyat Angell, but the Broncs remained in charge with an and-one from junior Allen Martinez, then a Martinez offensive board that led to a trey from Bachman. That put the Lakin lead at 54-49 with just two minutes left on the clock.

Then the madness began. Hugoton senior Sawyer Harper put up 30 points and 13 rebounds in Friday’s semifinal win against Hoisington. Saturday he had just eight points entering the fourth quarter. He put together back-to-back drives but missed a free throw that would have tied the game with 47 seconds left.

Hugoton senior Sawyer Harper steals the ball in the final seconds of the third quarter during...
Hugoton senior Sawyer Harper steals the ball in the final seconds of the third quarter during Saturday's substate thriller in Larned.(Mike Courson)

A baseline infraction gave the ball back to the Eagles and Harper struck again to give Hugoton a 55-54 lead with just 40 ticks left. Sophomore Carson Bennett and Harper each made free throws down the stretch to draw out the lead and secure the win. Harper scored eight of his 16 points in the final 99 seconds of action and also pulled down eight rebounds.

“That’s Sawyer,” Korf said. “That typifies him. Just like last night, it was just a lot of heart and never doubting. Keep believing, that’s what we talked about in timeouts when we were down. They did. We made some plays.”

The teams were locked at nine after eight minutes of action. Hugoton managed just one 3-pointer in Friday’s win against Hoisington. Saturday the senior Korf had three treys and 12 points in the first half to help the Eagles to a 24-18 lead at the break.

Lakin brought the energy in the third, forcing several turnovers in the Eagle backcourt. Martinez hit a three late in the third to level the score at 31, then senior Dominick Daniels scored underneath the basket to put Lakin ahead 33-32.

“I think it was fatigue more than anything,” Coach Korf said. “We looked tired, and when you’re tired you don’t make as good of passes, you’re lazy going to the ball. We talked about that’s how they score is off turnovers. Our half-court defense, they struggled to score against I felt like. But we turned it over and they got some quick threes and get their momentum rolling. We did too much of that in the second half.”

Lakin held the ball for the last shot but Harper came up with the steal in the final 10 seconds. Jayce Korf scored off the turnover to put the Eagles back on top 36-35 with a quarter to play.

Martinez paced Lakin with 15 points. Senior Hunter Davis, who scored 36 points in Friday’s semifinal win, was kept in check with 13 points. Daniels finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lakin ends its season at 21-2 with both losses coming against Hugoton.

Korf finished with 17 points to lead Hugoton. Harper finished with the 16 points, and senior Haden Daharsch added 10 points and eight rebounds. Angell scored eight points.

Hugoton has now won its last 21 games after losing the first two games of the season to Hays and TMP. The Eagles will host a Class 3A state quarterfinal game on Tuesday.

“Just keep doing what we’re doing,” Coach Korf said. “It’s a strange year where only four teams get to go to Hutch. But we’re happy that we get to host. Our girls get to host on Monday and our boys will host on Tuesday. I told our seniors Monday when we put Larned at our place we had another home game coming and we do. We’re looking forward to that.”

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