Top seed Norton girls beat Russell in thriller, 51-49

HOISINGTON, Kan. (KWCH) -- The Norton Lady Bluejays won the Hoisington Class 3A Sub-State Championship over the Russell Lady Broncos to end a ten year State berth drought.

Norton Lady Bluejay #3 Tessa Hauser takes a shot from the lane in the second quarter. The Norton Lady Bluejays took on the Russell Lady Broncos in a Class 3A Sub-State Championship Game held at Hoisington Activity Center in Hoisington, Kansas on March 2, 2019. (Photo: Joey Bahr,

Russell quickly fell into foul trouble. By the end of the first quarter they had six team fouls. Norton did not register their first foul until almost two minutes left in the first quarter. Russell trailed 17 to 8 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Tiffany Dortland for Russell went to work and dropped nine points. Her teammates added six more. The narrowed Norton's lead to 29 to 23 at the halftime break.

Norton came out and got the lead up to 14 points at one point in the third quarter. The combo of Tessa and Hadley Hauser accounted for more than half of their points.

Tiffany Dortland again put up nine points in a quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Russell trailed 44 to 36.

With four minutes left in the game, Russell took their first lead of the afternoon off a three pointer to make it 49 to 47. Norton would come back and tie it at 49.

For the next three minutes both teams went scoreless. They each had multiple opportunities to score down low or from the free throw line. They could not get one to fall.

With less than 20 seconds remaining, Norton made a field goal and took a two point lead.

They would hold on to that lead and win 51 to 49.

Norton's Tessa Hauser scored 22 points. Taryn Kuhn added 16 points. Hadley Hauser contributed 10 points for the game.

Russell's Tiffany Dortland also had 22 points in the game. Camille Dortland added 12 points.

"These gals have been working for this all year. It's been ten years since we've been to State," said Norton's Head Coach George Rossi. "It was a hard fought game. Russell gave everything they had and we gave everything we had.”