Larned, KS (westernkansasnews.com) Even though everything has been so easy for the Hugoton girls basketball team this season, it is nice to know they still have a flare for the dramatic.
In a battle between Hugoton (19-2) the top ranked team in the state and fourth ranked Pratt (16-6) for the substate championship in Larned, the drama built up to the point where it almost seemed like a state championship game. In the end, sophomore Katy Heger matched her career high with 27 points in giving Hugoton a return trip to state 50-47.
The first quarter indicated why the substate final would be such a back and forth game. Hugoton scored ten in a row over the first three minutes. After Pratt Head Coach Emmanuel Adigun called timeout, his team settled down and became the aggressor scoring the last 11 points of the final five minutes in the first quarter to take an 11-10 lead.
All night it became a battle of the stars. Sophomore Katy Heger of Hugoton managed to score 18 of her team’s thirty points in the second half. Her offensive output was needed because Hugoton trailed Pratt 21-20 at half marking only the second time all year the Lady Eagles trailed at the break.
The Pratt Greenbacks had two stars they relied upon. One was Bre Becker who scored thirteen in the first half, but picked up her fourth foul on a reach in at mid court with 4:45 remaining in the third. That foul cost Becker the rest of the quarter. If Becker remained who knows how much she would have helped Pratt’s offense. Becer ended the night with 21, eight in the final quarter. Hailey Hook took over offensively for the Greenbacks in Becker’s absence and finished with 15.
Hugoton did not trail by more than three points and used a second half run of 14-6 over a seven minute span capped off with Katy Heger’s layup off a lead pass by Dallie Hoskinson to give the Lady Eagles a 39-32 lead, their biggest with 6:45 left. Pratt would use a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 42-39 lead on Paige Bailey’s layup. For some reason that’s when Hugoton’s survival instinct kicked in.
Katy Heger capitalized on a three point play with 2:45 to go in tying up the game at 42. After Kelsey Smith Potter missed two free throws, Hugoton would take the lead for good on Amy Scott’s runner in the lane with a little more than two minutes remaining. Becker was fouled by Heger and split the two free throws giving Hugoton a 44-43 lead.
Pratt had three opportunities to tie or take the lead late. Down 45-43 with a little more than a minute left Hook, missed an open three attempt and seconds later Becker missed a running two that would have tied it up. Hook also missed a right corner three to tie it at 48 with 27 seconds left.
Both teams committed turnovers within a matter of 14 seconds and that gave Pratt one last chance. Becker hit an eight footer with only four seconds left leaving Pratt one point short. Heger was fouled after an inbound with four-tenths of a second remaining She nailed both free throws and a three-quarters court shot at the end was not even close in an attempt to send the game into overtime.
Hugoton Coach Andy Gillen Post-game
Sophomore Katy Heger Post-game
For Hugoton it was their 12th win in a row and matched their win total from last year with 19 wins. The Lady Eagles make it to state in back to back years this time as the number one seed and will play (11-11) Jeff. West in a state quarterfinal Thursday afternoon at 3 from Park City.