Cheney hands Phillipsburg first loss, will meet Goodland for 3A title
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Entering the 3A state tourney, you immediately could look at the bracket and see the chance for a pair of unbeaten teams to meet for the title. Goodland, winners of 37 straight, entered chasing a second straight championship.
Phillipsburg, meanwhile, had not lost since the Cowgirls beat them in the sub-state final last spring.
Thanks to Cheney, that meeting won’t be happening again.
The Cardinals, led by strong post play courtesy of Leah Durr and Campbell Hague, stunned the unbeaten Panthers 58-49 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
The Panthers and Taryn Sides came out firing, leading this 17-5 after a quarter where Sides posted 10 of her game high 31. From that point on though, Cheney steadily chipped away, taking a lead in the third where they outscored the Panthers 17-6 themselves and they did not look back in pulling away for the 9 point win.
Durr scored 9 points after halftime before fouling out with 4 to play, then it was Hague that took over despite an off shooting night. The senior was coming off a 17 point, 22 performance in the quarterfinals but shot just 2 of 13 in the semifinal win. She did however hit her second shot when it was needed most, building momentum to create a 50-44 second half lead and immediately following it with two consecutive blocks on defense. Hague ended with 13 and 13 to go with Durr’s 16 and Reagan Ayers’ 12.
Their opponent will be Goodland. The Cowgirls survived their toughest test of the season, holding off Silver Lake 54-51 in the second straight semifinal meeting between the schools.
They did it despite foul trouble to their star Talexa Weeter, who ended with 32 points in 23 minutes with the senior picking up a third foul midway through the second quarter.
But while Weeter was playing one of the best games of her already great career, the players around her stepped up in her absence. Jaxi Mitchek and Lindsey Cure kept the Cowgirls ahead at halftime, outscoring the Eagles in the second quarter even without Weeter.
The second half started with Silver Lake’s Kaibryn Kruger hitting back to back threes to put them ahead, that lead however was short lived as Weeter, who had three triples in the first quarter, added three more in the third to keep the lead at two possessions entering the final frame.
Silver Lake continued their strong outside shooting along with Taylor Ross’ ability to drive at the basket to move back ahead by one with 2:32 to go. That ended up as the last time the Eagles would lead, with who else but Weeter leading the charge down the stretch, hitting a floater to make it a four point game with under a minute to play.
A missed free throw in the closing seconds gave Silver Lake a chance to send it to OT, but two shots from deep missed, and the Cowgirls made it 38 straight wins.
Now the stage is set for Saturday, a matchup of the 2021 champs from Cheney and the 2022 champs out of Goodland.
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