GREAT BEND, Kan. - Emily Ryan put up some scary numbers against Ness City in the 2018 Hilltop Hoops Classic at Barton Community College. Then a sophomore, she finished that game with a career-high 54 points, 13 steals, 11 assists, and eight rebounds in just 22 minutes.
Thursday night the schools met again in the 2020 Hilltop semifinals. All Ryan did was score 20 points in the first quarter as Central Plains pushed past the 90-point mark for the fifth time in six games in a 96-17 runaway.
Ryan, like most basketball players around the nation, was hurt by the death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant over the weekend. Bryant topped out at 81 points and Ryan was on pace for a similar mark with the 20 first-quarter points.
"I just take whatever the defense gives me," she said. "Tonight they were giving me holes to take it to the basket so I just took that. We're looking for the best shot as a team. It doesn't matter who takes it."
Sophomore Kassidy Nixon added six points in the opening quarter, and senior Delaney Rugan hit a three and scored five points. The result was a 33-2 Central Plains lead after eight minutes.
Nixon added a putback and foul 29 seconds in to the second quarter, then scored on back-to-back assists from Ryan. Ryan neared a triple-double with 27 points, eight steals, and seven assists by halftime. The Lady Oilers combined for 15 assists in the first two quarters and 22 assists in the game.
"We like playing fast and tonight we were able to do that," said Ryan. "We take pride in being a good passing team and we were able to do that."
Ryan pulled up with 36 points, 12 steals, and nine assists by the end of the third quarter to finish her 22 minutes of action. She finished 15 for 16 from the floor. Nixon added 19 points, five assists, and four steals, and she made all nine of her field goal attempts in the game.
Rugan and freshman Brynna Hammeke each added 12 points for Central Plains, which moves its win streak to 123 consecutive games. Addison Crites finished with nine points and a game-high six rebounds.
Ness City made its first field goal of the game with 35 seconds to play in the first half when Hannah Delaney scored. She finished with six points and Zoe Seib and Alexa Reinhardt each scored four points.
Central Plains plays St. John in Friday night's championship game. Ness City will take on Little River in the third-place game.