Central Plains girls beat fourth ranked opponent
CLAFLIN, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - As seven-time reigning champions, the Central Plains girls have not shied from tough competition to open the 2021-22 basketball season. Already with three wins against ranked teams – all in larger classifications – the top-ranked Lady Oilers (1A, Div. II) moved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 against ranked teams with a 46-26 win over No. 9 Haven (3A) Friday night.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Central Plains junior Brynna Hammeke. “We came out last year ready and we came out scared because we had that big streak and we were afraid to lose it. Now we’re coming out free with a title under us last year. It’s just great to be back and we’re all confident enough to be playing.”
The Lady Oilers already have wins against No. 5 Smith Center (2A), No. 7 St. John (1A, Div. I), and a signature win against No. 6 Phillipsburg (3A). Friday night Haven was able to hang around at 12-12 early in the second. Hammeke swished a trey with 5:26 to play in the first half, then added a runner to open a 7-2 run. She scored eight points in a 2-minute stretch to help the Lady Oilers to a 24-16 lead at the break.
Then the Central Plains defense went to work. Haven senior Amie Yoder scored the only Lady Wildcat field goal in the third quarter, and a free throw from junior BrieAnn Brawner proved to be the only other point.
“Playing Phillipsburg helped us quite a bit, and those other teams did, too,” Hammeke said. “We’ve been working a lot on our defense in practice and I feel like we’re pretty well prepared this year.”
Central Plains began to pull away for good. Senior Maddison McGuire made some early free throws, then junior Kyla Metro hit a baseline jumper for a 33-17 lead. Senior Kassidy Nixon found McGuire in the paint and the Lady Oilers led 35-17.
McGuire scored on an early putback in the fourth quarter. A transfer from last year’s state runner-up to Central Plains in Cunningham, McGuire had seven rebounds and six of her seven points in the final two quarters.
“We had no height last year,” Hammeke said. “Gaining Maddie, and another great shooter in Reese (McGuire), we’re just very fortunate to be bringing them in.”
Hammeke scored all of her game-high 18 points in the first three quarters. Nixon finished strong with 14 points.
Haven had just five points in the second half until senior Reese Roper hit a three with 65 seconds remaining. That was her total on the night. Freshman Sienna Defrain paced the Cats with 12 points, and Yoder scored six points.
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