Cheney tops Sabetha to take 3A State Championship
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The last time Cheney reached this point in their basketball season, it ended in heartbreak, an overtime loss to Royal Valley.
“Before the game I was going through pictures of the year we lost,” senior Lexi Cline said, “and I kind of used that to fuel me for this game, it pissed me off a little bit.”
That extra fuel paid off for the Cardinals as they took control of Sabetha early and didn’t look back in a 60-54 state championship win Saturday, their second in school history.
“Not to even know in November if we were gonna get to have a full season, KSHSAA talking about cutting our games to 13, to get 25 and to get to this point with these girls and do it for this community is the best feeling ever,” said Kylee Scheer after she scored a game high 25 points in the Cardinal win, including a perfect 9/9 from the free throw line.
Early on the Cardinals were getting everybody involved. They jumped out to a 14-6 second quarter lead with four different players hitting threes, and by midway through the second 7 players had scored. But despite building a 10 point lead, Sabetha didn’t fade away easily. Leah Renyer scored all 6 of their first quarter points, then added 6 more in the second when the Jays cut it to a 4 point game.
But Cheney closed the half strong, getting it back to 29-20 as they went to the locker room.
The lead again creeped down to one possession, getting as close as 39-37 after Renyer added three more of her 24, but it would get no closer. Sabetha kept the Cardinals on their toes, but Cheney was strong at the free throw line down the stretch and did not allow Sabetha to take a second half lead. The Cardinals finished 17 for 23 at the line.
When the current group of Cheney juniors were freshman, a group text was created and titled simply “STATE CHAMPS.” Most of the upperclassmen for Cheney also play Volleyball and Softball, and they have come close to winning a title in all three sports over the years. This basketball season, the bold prediction proved true.
“We just said that, we said our group chat name came true today,” said Scheer, “we’ve been wanting to be state champs ever since that junior class was freshman, we’re like ‘we’re gonna get it someday’ and we did. All those girls, even not in the group chat, worked their butts off and they deserve this.”
Scheer’s fellow senior Lexi Cline almost didn’t get this moment. Suffering an injury before the season, there was thought she wouldn’t be able to return. But she came back to the court in February, and found out before today’s game that she’d be making her first start of the year in the championship game.
“I went from crying because I didn’t think I’d make it back in time, and then I came back and I felt stronger than ever,” said Cline, who had a game high 7 assists in the win.
“It’s Lexi, you would have to nail her to the bench for her not to play,” said Scheer. “So to have her back, have her come off the bench, have her make her first start tonight, it was really special.”
And in the final game of each of their high school basketball careers, they end up on top of the classification.
“We’ve played with each other since rec ball, and it’s always been a joy. I know she’s gonna get on me if I’m slacking, I know we can hold each other accountable, and it’s just been a dream playing alongside your best friend, playing the game you love,” added Scheer.
“This game was huge to us, not only because it was a state championship, but because it was our last game, and we talked about it, we’re gonna give it our all,” said Cline.
As for head coach Rod Scheer, he now has claimed a state championship while coaching both of his daughters. 11 years ago, when his eldest Payton was a sophomore the Cardinals won their first title in school history. Now on this same day in 2021, he can say the same for his team with Kylee.
“It’s rewarding because I know how hard she worked,” said Rod Scheer, “there’s too many times these past four years that I’ve probably been too much of a coach instead of a dad, so now I get to be a fulltime dad--bother her that way.”
Cheney finishes their year a perfect 25-0 and on top of Class 3A. Sabetha’s year comes to a close with a 22-3 mark and state runner-up finish.
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