DERBY, Kan. - Saturday, for the most part, was business as usual for the Derby Panthers.
As they've done all season, Derby came away with a big victory, this a 60-40 win to earn a trip to the state tournament at Koch Arena in Wichita next week. But with the game winding down, emotions started hitting some of the players, notably Derby star Kennedy Brown in her final home game.
"This is my last game in this gym, so it kind of hit me in the fourth quarter," said Brown. "I wasn't really thinking about it too much, I just wanted to play hard, but realized it and that's when it hit."
Head coach Jodie Karsak noticed it as well.
"I think it all just came crashing down for Kennedy, specifically, because she's not emotional.," said Karsak. "I was really glad to see that."
The win puts Derby three games from winning a second straight state championship, and puts this group of seniors at a perfect four for four in sub-state championship games.
"It's an awesome feeling. Not a lot of people get to experience that," said Brown.
In the game against the Lady Lions, Derby got off to a quick 10-3 lead, showing a full court press defense to stifle the Lions offense. They pushed the lead to 14-7 through a quarter.
Then in the second, Heather Mills hit a trey to get the lead to double digits, and it only grew from there, a 13 point halftime lead that grew to 20 at the final horn.
Brown led the way with 19 points as the Panthers improved to 21-0.
The seniors, Brown, Tor'e Alford, Aaliyah Myers leading a group of six, now have a 44-1 record in the past two seasons. They'll enter the state tournament as the 2 seed in Class 6A, a game behind 22-0 Liberal in the win column