Hays, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Two undefeated teams from southwest Kansas went into their final games in Hays in the Class 1A, Division II title games, with a chance to accomplish an undefeated season. In the girls final, the Ingalls Lady Bulldogs were able to accomplish an undefeated season with a 37-22 win over Norwich, while things weren’t so good for the Fowler boys, as they fall to Axtell 65-56.
The girls championship game saw both teams struggle from the field. Ingalls shot 32% for the game, while Norwich shot 29%. Despite a tough game from the field, the Lady Bulldogs were able to jump out to a 10-1 lead after the first quarter. The Lady Eagles would pull to within 19-13 at intermission. It would remain tight in the third quarter with Ingalls leading 26-19 heading into the final period, but the Lady Bulldog defense would step up in the final eight minutes, surrendering only three points en route to an undefeated state championship season. The 22 points by Norwich (24-2) was the lowest by a team in a Class 1A state championship game, breaking the old record of 29 set by Natoma in 1975. The combined point total of 59 was also the lowest in a final since 2003, when Ness City defeated Centralia 34-30. Leading the way for the Bulldogs (26-0) was Tara Whipple with 12 points. The Lady Eagles got a team high eight points from Macy Stephens. Golden Plains defeated Wilson 77-67 in the third place game.
In the boys finale, the seventh seeded Axtell Eagles were able to fit the Cinderella slipper comfortably, ending what was a great run by Fowler. The Goldbugs led 18-14 after the first eight minutes, but the Eagles would take the lead and pull away the rest of the way. Axtell took a 33-32 lead into intermission, and were able to head to the foul line 29 times, hitting 19 free throws. Fowler was only 5-of-8 from the charity line. The Eagles (19-8) also shot 54% from the field, while the Goldbugs were at 36%. Leading the way for Axtell was Aaron Schmelze with 26 points, while Payton Heinen added 23. Fowler (25-1) had three double figure scorers, led by Joel Milford with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Ty Clark finished with 12 points and Taylin Bird poured in 11 points. In the third place game, White City held off Sharon Springs 53-46.