DODGE CITY, Kan. (CIK) The streaks continue for the Central Plains Lady Oilers. Saturday in Dodge City, the girls overcame a defensive struggle early on to defeat Hanover 52-34. Central Plains moves its consecutive state championship streak to six and takes a 111-game win streak into next season.
"It never hits that we win state for a little while," said Central Plains senior Avery Hurley. "I'm just glad I always get to play with my best friends."
Reigning Div. I champion Hanover looked to be a match for Central Plains early on. Junior Tiana Lohse scored through a foul for a 3-0 Wildcat lead and the Lady Oilers missed on their first six attempts from the floor. To make matters worse for Central Plains, junior standout Emily Ryan picked up a second personal foul less than five minutes in, and junior post Addison Crites picked up a third foul late in the first.
But the Lady Oilers eventually got on the board with four points from junior Delaney Rugan. Ryan added six points in the quarter as Central Plains moved ahead 12-10.
The momentum carried into the second quarter with a quick jumper from Rugan. A steal from Avery Hurley netted a 3-point play from Ryan and all of a sudden the lead was seven points at 17-10. Senior Rylee Cunningham, filling in for Crites, made her first two shots from the floor. Her second gave the Lady Oilers a 21-10 advantage.
"She hasn't played that many minutes but she's always steady in practice," said Lady Oiler coach Pat Stiles. "She knew all the plays we do. I told her we wouldn't have won that game without her. It was really cool the two seniors - Avery and Rylee - stepped up."
Hanover fought back from there. Senior Macy Doebele ended the run with a steal and basket, then Loshe knocked down back-to-back treys. Two free throws from Doebele capped a 10-0 run to get the Wildcats back within one. Another Hurley steal led to more points for Ryan and Central Plains took a 27-21 lead into the break.
Central Plains led 33-22 when coach Pat Stiles decided to slow the game down. The Lady Oilers held the ball for much of the final 2:43 in the third. As the clock ticked down, Ryan crossed the baseline and found Rachel Lamatsch in the corner for a three at the buzzer. The lead grew to 38-24 with eight minutes to play.
Central Plains continued to work the clock with long possessions to open the fourth. Ryan capitalized with a series of drives and free throws. After a free throw miss in the first quarter, she finished 15 of 16 for the line to lead all players with 29 points. She filled her stat sheet with six assists and six blocks.
"They were in that junk," Stiles said. "I think we were up 10 and I said let's just pull it out and see if they match up with us. Eventually they did. I knew when they matched up with us we'd be okay."
If the Lady Oilers won the offensive end, they were even better on the defensive end. Wildcat junior Emma Bruna scored through a foul with 3:04 remaining in the game to end a field goal drought that stretched all the way back to the 4:06 mark of the second quarter. "Those girls defend," Stiles said of his team. "It doesn't matter zone or man, they can defend."
Hanover shot just 24.4 percent from the floor in the game. Doebele paced the Lady Cats with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Lohse added nine points and Bruna finished with six points.
Rugan finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Oilers. Cunningham scored four points in her prep finale, and the four-year varsity player Hurley scored just two points but had a hand in several plays on both ends of the court. She joins just a handful of Kansas players to make it all four years without losing a varsity game.
"Every year there's a leader who steps up and helped me," she said. "I loved being a leader to the younger players this year. I'm just so grateful to play with great teammates."