Top-seeded Cimarron overcomes cold start to win Winter Jam

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:57 PM CST
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HOISINGTON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - After scoring 80 points in round one of the Cardinal Winter Jam, top-seeded Cimarron struggled to just 38 points in Thursday’s semifinal win against Pratt. Things took a turn for the worse in Monday’s finale against Hoisington as the Lady Jays fell behind 12-0 after one quarter. Coach Austin Stebens got things turned around after that, holding Hoisington to just nine more points the rest of the night in a 33-21 win.

“It kind of shocked us at first because we’re usually really good at starting games,” he said. “We kind of woke up in the second, then in the third and fourth quarter we made some adjustments at halftime, and I thought we executed really well.”

Creighton-bound senior McKayla Miller picked up two early blocked shots, but she also picked up a second personal foul on a charge call just 3:30 into the game. She went to the bench without a point in the first quarter.

Still, the tables turned in the second quarter. Miller returned to score four points in the frame, blocking another shot and grabbing five rebounds. Junior Jayna Wilson added a three as the Lady Jays won the period 9-2 to trail 14-9 at the break.

That momentum carried into the second half. Senior Chloe Bertelsen popped a three 90 seconds in, and Miller found senior Taryn Jantz for the first Cimarron lead at 20-19 with 31 ticks to play in the third quarter.

“That’s kudos to my girls,” Stebens said. “They know when to lock in. We had a little pep talk at halftime about that - staying locked in, how bad do you want it, stuff like that. They responded really well. I’m really proud of them for that.”

Hoisington junior Kylee Hahn scored off her own miss in the final seconds of the third quarter for a 21-20 Lady Cardinal lead. Those proved to be the final Hoisington points in the game. Jantz scored six points in the fourth and Miller added five points in the frame to take control of the game.

Hahn finished with seven points and seven rebounds for Hoisington. Junior Jordyn Boxberger and sophomore Ellie Crawford each added four points.

Cimarron senior McKayla Miller battles inside against Hoisington's Kylee Hahn (24) and Addy...
Cimarron senior McKayla Miller battles inside against Hoisington's Kylee Hahn (24) and Addy Mason (1) during Monday's championship game.((photo by Mike Courson))

Miller finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks for Cimarron. Jantz added 10 points, and senior Caitlyn Sonday grabbed five of her 11 rebounds in the first four minutes of the game. She finished with four points. The Lady Jays turned the ball over 12 times in the opening quarter but improve to 11-2 on the season.

“McKayla’s an incredible talent, but she has some really good pieces around her, which helps us tremendously,” Stebens said. “A lot of teams key really hard on her, and we have other girls that can hurt you. It showed tonight.”