Cheney runs by Frontenac, earns shot at redemption in 3A title game
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - It’s cliché to call basketball a game of runs. But Thursday’s state semifinal contest between Frontenac and Cheney could only be described that way.
In the end, it was the Cardinals that had the final stretch in their favor as they pulled away for a 62-46 win to advance to Saturday’s state championship game.
“They did a heck of a job starting out at the beginning of the game, and then obviously us getting back into it, our flow of running down the floor, getting some transition baskets,” said Cheney coach Rod Scheer.
The Raiders started out the game with a bang, taking a quick 8-1 lead and forcing a Cardinal timeout just 2:02 into the first. The Raiders held onto that lead for the entirety of the quarter, but a steal leading to a Brynn McCormick fast-break basket before the buzzer gave Cheney a bit of momentum.
Down two in the second, Cheney’s Kylee Scheer got going after being held to just two first quarter points. Her first of three straight made threes gave Cheney the lead, and kicked off an 11-0 run to build a 26-17 lead. Many of the shots came in transition, Cheney taking advantage of defensive looks to take command.
“They were creating space, and [Scheer] did a great job of reading it. About gave me a heart attack when she did that, but it’s one of those that she makes it and you’re thinking ‘great, great shot, great decision,’” added Rod.
The run the Cardinals went on extended to a 20-4 quarter, giving Cheney a 13 point halftime lead and a lot of confidence heading to the locker room.
“Once we started hitting our shots, we got more confident, and we’re playing in a new gym so some of our teammates weren’t used to it so just starting to hit our shots got us confident and really helped us out,” said Kylee Scheer after the win.
The Cheney lead extended to as much as 17 in the third, but then the Raiders found took the game back over. Their defense kept Cheney from getting easy looks, and the 17 point lead fell back to four by the end of the third, from 38-21 to 44-40.
But that was as close as things would get in the second half. Cheney got the game back to 10 after a slow start by both sides to the 4th, and the lead only grew from there from the free throw line.
The win gets Cheney back into the title game, the point where they saw their season come to an end two years ago in heartbreak, a 55-52 overtime loss to Royal Valley.
“It was at the front of our mind last year when we made the final four, then the tournament got cancelled, so now we’re back here. Coach just said ‘we made it this far, we might as well go win it,’ so that’s what’s on our minds now. We’re locked in and we’re ready to go,” continued Kylee.
“This group has gotten--you lose a state championship game in overtime, they did a great job of getting back here last year. I think that has a lot to do with it, it didn’t end the way we wanted to, but we got another opportunity,” said Rod.
Scheer finished with a game best 23, including 5 makes from behind the arc. McCormick added 14, and Olivia Albers had 11 rebounds off the bench. The Cardinals forced 17 turnovers for the game. Frontenac was paced by Heather Arnett’s 14 and Hattie Pyle’s 10-10 double-double.
The Cardinals will face the winner of Hugoton and Sabetha for the 3A title, with tip for that game set for 2:00pm Saturday at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
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