Emporia, KS (westernkansasnews.com) It was a Saturday to remember for the Hugoton basketball teams from the 4A-II State Basketball Tournament at William White Auditorium, but for different reasons.
The girls had to come to terms with only their second loss of the season at the hands of Clay Center the previous day in the semifinals a team they beat by 19 points in the 2015 state semis from Park City. For the boys they had a chance to get their first state championship in program history as they battled powerhouse Wichita Collegiate.
Just like on Friday there were mixed results. The girls were able to win the third place match up of the top two seeded teams at state with a comeback 61-59 win over Girard while the boys lost their battle to Wichita Collegiate 68-49.
Two noticeable problems occurred for the Hugoton boys in the championship game. Collegiate known for their press and sending substitutes in five on five waves forced a very uncharacteristic 23 Eagle turnovers. Hugoton also struggled in both three’s at 2-12 for the game and in overall shooting from the field at 35%, only 30% in the second half at 6-20.
The Eagle offense went through senior Parker Ttitus. Titus went 6-14 in the game from the field, but his ability to get on the line and shoot free throws kept Hugoton afloat. The 6-3 forward went 8-10 from the line, but was limited in getting fouled during the second half. No one else on the Eagles had more than six shots attempted.
Wichita Collegiate (22-3) fresh off their upset win over top seeded and previously undefeated Girard in Friday night’s state semifinals were good in both the half court and in transition. As the game wore on the Spartans shot better hitting 59 percent of their shots in the second half at 13-22 and 47 percent for the game.
Collegiate had three options offensively. Zack Larsen only took threes throughout the game and he finished at 3-10 from outside including 2-6 in the second half. Austin Waddell went 6-7 from the field and sophomore guard Cody McNerney prop his numbers up from the line going five of seven as each finished with 13 points.
The game was physical and each team matched the brutal intensity of a championship game. Wichita Collegiate started to take control early in the fourth quarter. Leading by three they built up a ten point lead on a 7-0 run. The Spartans ended the final quarter outscoring Hugoton 29-13 to take their sixth state championship in boys basketball and first since 2010.
Post-Game Comments Hugoton Coach C.J. Korf
Over to the girls where if it was not for the efforts of sophomore guard Laney Hoskinson Hugoton would have fallen short for the second straight day.
With foul trouble saddling both of the Lady Eagles star players Katy Heger and Dallie Hoskinson who both eventually fouled out, Laney Hsokinson took up where they left off and couple with junior guard Amy Scott made for a combination that Girard just could not control.
Hoskinson ended up the night going 8-13 from the field and 4-10 in three attempts. Her 20 points fell one short of Scott who poured in 21 on 6-18 shooting. Hugoton was able to get the big buckets when they were needed facing a 8 point deficit midway through the second quarter and a 7 point hole early in the third.
The Lady Eagles outscored Girard 17-9 in the third quarter and turned a seven point deficit into a 43-38 lead at the end of three. Hugoton had to use their quickness in combating Girard’s heighth. 6-4 junior Ashley Ray of the Lady Trojans dominated with 13 points, 15 rebounds and 5 block shots.
That put pressure on Hugoton to be able to make mid and long range jumpers plus use turnovers from the press to get easy buckets. Scott ended up with 4 of Hugoton’s 13 steals and the Lady Eagles forced 17 turnovers to Girard’s 12.
Sydnee Crain led Girard with 17 points, Clea Augustin added 14.
The win gives this Hugoton team a school record with 23 wins in a 23-2 season, one more win than last year’s state championship squad that went 22-2 and had a postponement late in the year because of snowy weather. Girard ended their season at 21-4.
Hugoton Girls Coach Andy Gillen
The Hugoton girls ended with their third straight season in state by taking third place and if there was any comfort they lost Friday’s semifinal to the eventual champion Clay Center who beat Topeka Hayden in Saturday’s 4A-II title game 56-50.