Cheney outlasts Halstead in two overtimes for State Semifinal berth
CHENEY, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) -Thirty-two minutes were not enough for Cheney and Halstead to decide who would advance to the Class 3A State Semifinal round. Neither were 36. 40 minutes, two overtimes later, the Cardinals outlasted Halstead to claim a spot in the Final Four.
“There were times when we thought we were beat, there were times when they thought they were beat, and fortunately down the stretch we had some kids that made plays,” said Cheney coach Rod Scheer after the 51-50 win. “Whether it be a free throw, a put back, a rebound, defensive rebound, whatever it may be, everybody stepped up and got it done.”
With all-state performer Karenna Gerber locked down defensively, Halstead turned to Kalleigh O’Brien to lead them for much of the game on both ends. She had double figures in the first half, of a low scoring game that was tied going to the locker room. Then Madi McClain made a big impact off the bench in the third to help the Dragons build a 33-27 lead through three. But it was Cheney that made the big plays in the fourth.
Kylee Scheer, the senior that averages more than 22 points per game, led the Cheney charge to break into that lead. Halstead hit enough free throws to keep the Cardinals at bay before Olivia Albers connected for her first bucket at an opportune moment, snatching her own rebound and hitting the put-back basket to make it 40-38. with less than 30 seconds to play. Then Lexi Cline forced a turnover on the ensuing in-bound, one that Scheer snagged and took up court where she was fouled. Both shots dropped, and neither team could get a solid look to close regulation.
O’Brien scored 6 more of her team best 22 at the free throw line in the first overtime, that all of Halstead’s scoring in the extra period. But a missed foul shot with the score 46-44 opened it up for Cheney, and Scheer again drew contact to get back to the line and make two more shots to force a second overtime.
In that second period, Halstead took a 50-48 lead to the final seconds, but it was Campbell Hague that provided the heroics for the Cardinals. Working the post with Gerber fouled out, Hague got an off balance shot off as she was fouled and hit it to tie the game. The free throw then put the Cardinals up 51-50 with 18 seconds to go.
Halstead had a great look to go up at the buzzer, but the Dominique Schutte shot spun around the rim and didn’t go through, with a second chance look from Hayley Lewis also hitting iron, giving Cheney their second win over the Dragons this season.
Albers and Hague make for two unlikely heroes to lead the Cardinals to victory, especially on a night when Scheer puts up 29 points to lead the way. But even beyond the pair of clutch buckets, the 6′1 Hague and 5′11 Albers were key in keeping Gerber in check. The likely all-state selection was held to just 3 points before fouling out.
“They battled with her, they got around her, and they had some big rebounds for us and they knew what it took to get this win, and they did it for us,” said Kylee Scheer after the win, “I’m very proud of them and I hope they keep up that defense, they just knew what they had to do to get us that dub.”
Halstead’s season comes to a close in the quarterfinal round, a game shy of reaching the same spot as last season, a 20-4 overall mark.
Cheney (23-0), after seeing their season end abruptly due to the cancellation of the 2020 state tourney, will have a chance for redemption after seeing a shot at the state title end due to circumstances out of their control one year ago.
“Honestly, I mean, two years ago we’re in it, last year that happens and so there might be some of us--I’ll say me--that still kind of have that taste in our mouth,” said Coach Scheer, “Now hopefully, we get to take the next step and get another one”
In 2019, Cheney finished state runner-up to Royal Valley, another game that went to overtime. Cheney’s only state championship came in 2010.
On Thursday, the Cardinals head to Hutchinson for a matchup with Frontenac (19-3) at 3:00. The other Class 3A semifinal match will put Hugoton against Sabetha.
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