Halstead's Gerber goes for career high 31 in Hoisington

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HOISINGTON, Kan. - Halstead's Karenna Gerber had a lofty goal of reaching 1,000 career points during Friday's Central Kansas League matchup in Hoisington. Just one problem: the Lady Dragon junior needed 35 points to get there, and she'd never before scored 30 points in a game. With 18 points at the half, Gerber came close, finishing with 31 points as Halstead improved to 14-3 with a 48-34 win.

"There's always next week," she said. "It's awesome to get 30 points. My teammates helped me out a lot with that. I owe it all to them."

Gerber had eight points just over four minutes into the game, but the Lady Dragons in general capitalized on Hoisington's nervous defense to the tune of a 6-for-7 effort from the free throw line just three minutes into the game.

Halstead led 14-3 late in the first before Cardinal junior Keeley Wolf buried a trey at the buzzer. The Lady Dragons answered early in the second with back-to-back steals from freshman Grace Lee that led to four more points for Gerber.

Still, the Lady Cards did not go away early. Sophomore Livvy Brewer came off the bench and hit a jumper, then junior Isabelle Gonzalez scored through a foul. Free throws from Wolf cut the gap to 22-17 with 1:42 still to play in the first half.

Gerber took over from there with four points in a 33-second stretch. She scored 18 points in the first half on 7 of 9 shooting. She went 11 of 14 from the floor through the first three quarters and added 12 rebounds and a handful of blocks and steals to her stat line for the evening.

"We've been putting in a few new plays this week," she said. "My teammates know how to get me the ball. I love them to death."

The Dragons took no prisoners in the third quarter, holding Hoisington to just two field goals. Junior Josephine Engel opened the frame with a 3-point play, and Gerber finished the quarter with nine points and five boards. The result was a 40-24 lead with eight minutes to play.

"Our defense has definitely looked better in other games this year," Gerber said. "In the locker room, coach reminded us that we could do better and to go show them what we're made of."

Gerber had several opportunities to reach the 30-point mark in the final quarter. Finally a drive with 35 seconds left in the game secured the new career high.

With two post players on the bench, nine Lady Cardinals scored in the game. Wolf led the pack with 10 points, followed by four points apiece from Brewer, Gonzalez, and freshman Ava Henry. O'Brien scored nine points for the Lady Dragons, and Engel finished with six points and six boards.

Halstead moves to 14-3 with just two losses to No. 3 Haven (3A) and No. 5 Nickerson (4A). The Lady Dragons are planning to be a factor in this year's postseason.

"Coach has told us to keep using these games to get better for the postseason," Gerber said. "We just have to keep working hard in practice. That's what it's all about."