Day 1 recap: Some big margins in girls’ Class 1A, Div. II bracket

Highlights from day one of the Class 1A D2 state tournament
Highlights from day one of the Class 1A D2 state tournament(Mike Courson)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:49 PM CST
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - A pair of routs were among the highlights of day one of the Class 1A, Div. II Girls State Basketball Championships at Barton Community College. The second game featuring No. 3 seed Beloit-St. John’s and No. 6 Central Christian was not one of them. St. John’s weathered a flurry of points at the start and finish of a 45-40 quarterfinal to advance to Friday’s semifinal game against unbeaten Hanover.

“We did a really good job of seeing our posts tonight and getting the ball inside,” said Lady Bluejay coach Leah Bergmann. “We started out a little slow. I think the lights of state kind of got to us a little bit. I’ve told the girls all year it’s a four-quarter game and we have a lot of time. We’re used to grinding and going to work so I was happy they got themselves under control and were able to settle in.”

Central Christian scored the first seven points of the game in less than four minutes but St. John’s pulled to within 9-8 by the end of the first quarter. The Lady Jay defense held the Lady Cougars to just 20-percent shooting from the floor and 17 points over the next 16 minutes to build a 33-26 lead heading into the fourth.

With Central Christian closing the gap to 34-30 in the fourth, Lady Bluejay senior Katie Brummer hit a key 3-pointer with six minutes remaining. That proved to be the difference as Central senior Kaylee Kauffman scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the final 2:06.

“We knew she was going to score but we wanted to limit her easy shots, her easy baskets, and then limit all the other shots,” Bergmann said. “I thought our defense was really good on her tonight. I think she had to work for a lot of her shots. She’s a good player but we did what we needed to do defensively.”

Emerie Bowman added 11 points for the Lady Cougars. Jessa Losew scored two points but grabbed eight rebounds. Central Christian ends the season at 16-8.

Sophomore Carlie Brummer paced Beloit-St. John’s with 13 points, followed by 10 points from Ella Wiles, and nine points from Emma Jones. The Lady Jays take a 21-4 record into Friday’s semifinal game against No. 2 seed Hanover (24-0).

“Our girls made it to state volleyball, top four,” said Bergmann. “Hanover’s a good team. They’re undefeated this year, but we’re going to give them what we can.”

Highlights from day one of the Class 1A D2 state tournament
Highlights from day one of the Class 1A D2 state tournament(Mike Courson)

No. 5 Bucklin 44, No. 4 South Haven 35

The lone upset in Wednesday’s bracket came in the late game as Bucklin jumped out to a 16-3 lead and staved off a comeback bid in the second half. South Haven scored just eight points in the first half before cutting the lead to four twice in the third quarter, then getting as close as 27-24 on a 3-pointer from Addison Heater with 1:22 to play in the third.

Bucklin got a layup from senior Halie Feikert to close out third-quarter scoring, then freshman Emmerson Kirk hit a three 31 seconds into the fourth to help secure the win. The Cardinals twice got to within four, but back-to-back baskets from Kirk iced the game for good.

Heater paced South Haven with 13 points, followed by sophomore 10 points from sophomore Aubrey Pond. The Lady Cardinals end their season at 19-5. Sydnie Jones led all players with 16 points for Bucklin, and also grabbed six boards. Feikert added 10 points and eight rebounds, and Kirk scored eight points in her state debut. The Lady Red Aces take a 20-4 record into Friday’s semifinal against unbeaten Lebo.

No. 2 Hanover 63, No. 7 Wallace County 32

Drama ended early in game one of the state tournament as the Lady Wildcats outscored Wallace County 20-4 in the first quarter. The halftime lead grew to 31-10.

The Lady Wildcats are seeking another state title after winning in 2017 and 2018, then reaching the state finals in 2020 and state semifinals in 2021. Sophomore Anna Jueneman led the team with 13 points, followed by 11 points from Ceegan Atkins, and 10 points from Massey Holle.

Wallace County ends its season at 16-8. Freshman Jersi Benisch made her state debut with 12 points, and sophomore Jaelyn Dailey finished with eight points.

Highlights from day one of the Class 1A D2 state tournament
Highlights from day one of the Class 1A D2 state tournament(Mike Courson)

No. 1 Lebo 56, No. 8 Pawnee Heights 12

Unbeaten Lebo would have been a clear favorite playing against the only team in this year’s tournament with a losing record. That was compounded last week as Pawnee Heights senior Olivia Hands, averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, went down with a broken foot last Saturday. The Lady Wolves led Wednesday’s game 25-0 after one quarter and 41-2 at the half.

Lebo scored at will early on, shooting 59 percent from the floor in the first half. Sophomore Saige Hadley made eight of her 12 shots inside the arc to lead all players with 17 points. Senior Brooklyn Jones and junior Abby Peek combined to go 12 of 19 from the floor for 13 and 12 points, respectively. Jones also had seven steals.

Pawnee Heights entered the game with just five players on the roster. Point guard Joselyn Corderro-Valles went down in the first half. Abby Hands scored six of the 12 Lady Tiger points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Julissa Torres scored four points, and Callie Amspackler finished with two points and eight boards. Pawnee Heights ends the season at 10-14.