Lady Hornets sting Lady Titans at state

SCCH season ends with 62-56 defeat

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Southern Coffey County High’s Kaitlin Meyer (24) draws three Dighton High defenders as she shoots the basketball in the lane. Meyer scored eight points and had two steals in Wednesday’s Kansas Class 1A Girls’ State Basketball Tournament game in Hays. Dighton defeated the Lady Titans 62-56.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Southern Coffey County High’s Kaitlin Meyer (24) draws three Dighton High defenders as she shoots the basketball in the lane. Meyer scored eight points and had two steals in Wednesday’s Kansas Class 1A Girls’ State Basketball Tournament game in Hays. Dighton defeated the Lady Titans 62-56.

HAYS — No, Southern Coffey County High’s Lady Titans do not like to lose. That was evident in their eyes and on their faces here Wednesday evening.
The Lady Titans weren’t able to break down the opening-round game wall at the 2009 Kansas Class 1A Girls’ State Basketball Tournament. Dighton High’s Lady Hornets rallied for a 62-56 win over the Lady Titans, ousting them from the tournament held at Fort Hays State’s Busch Gross Coliseum.
“I’m not sure what happened in the fourth quarter. We didn’t stop playing to win. In a game of runs, they (Dighton) had the final run,” said Jeff True, Lady Titan head coach, after the loss in Southern Coffey County High’s first appearance in a state basketball tournament.
The Lady Titans were left with the sting of the loss. But they take away the experience of playing at a state basketball tournament. They take away a 23-3 season record plus a bright future of a possible return trip next year with all but one of the 12 players on the state tournament squad returning next year.
They showed they didn’t like to lose by shaking off a not-so-Titan start. Dighton opened the game on an 11-0 run. By the end of the quarter, Southern Coffey County had gotten back in the game by threes, down 16-12,
Laurie Ohl had a three-point play with 3:42 left in the first quarter to get things started for the Lady Titans. Kristin Stephens had three straight points then Kaitlin Meyer had a three-point play followed by a three-pointer by Shelby Birk.
The Lady Titans tied the game up on two free throws by Meyer and a field goal by Birk in the opening 30 seconds of the second period. Southern Coffey County pulled out to a 34-26 halftime lead.
The Lady Titans weathered another Lady Hornet run as the second half began. Dighton rattled off eight unanswered to tie the game at 34-34 by the 6:17 mark. Southern Coffey County put together a 15-7 surge back to the lead featuring back-to-back threes by Birk and a three-pointer by Ashton Gudenkauf.
The Lady Titans controlled 49-41 by the close of the third period.
Southern Coffey County led 50-43 with 7:31 remaining in the game when Ohl hit one of two free throws. Free throw shooting and fouls played a big part in the final run of the contest. Southern Coffey County was 1 of 3 at the free-throw line in the second half while Dighton went 11 of 13.
The Lady Hornets began their comeback at the line. Kaylee Cramer, who had nine of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Kelsey Hubin each sank one of two free throws. Those were the only misses of the final seven minutes.
Dighton pulled to within three, 50-47, after turning up the defensive intensity against the Lady Titans. Following a Southern Coffey County turnover, Cramer connected inside to make it 50-49 then she stole the basketball.
An outside shot by Emily Torson brought the Lady Hornets all the way back to the lead, 51-50 at the 3:58 mark. That set off a back-and-forth affair until the final 40 seconds.
Gudenkauf scored for the Lady Titans with 2:34 left and Cramer countered at the other end. The Lady Titans went inside to Meyer to go up 54-53 but Cramer again scored.
Ohl worked the offensive boards on the next possession finally getting a shot to drop and was fouled. Ohl’s free throw was off but the Lady Titans had a 56-55 lead with 52 seconds left.
Hubin scored and was fouled. She completed the three-point play for the Lady Hornet to a 58-56 advantage with 41 seconds left. Gudenkauf drove to the middle of the lane but her shot didn’t fall and Dighton claimed the rebound.
Ohl fouled out with 29.8 seconds on the clock sending Cramer to the free-throw line. She nailed both free throws, as Southern Coffey County had reach 10 team fouls while Dighton only had two fouls in the second half.
Birk’s three-pointer shot was blocked. Dighton grabbed the basketball and Kathleen Frise sank two free throws to seal the win.
“Turnovers kills us in the fourth quarter. We tired entry passes to the inside and they got in the passing lanes and we had a couple of turnovers out top,” True said. “Foul trouble hampered us as Laurie and Kaitlin had to sit for a while in the second half.”
True said Stephens, who helped with the comeback in the first quarter, and Gudenkauf played well off the bench. Stephens had five points and six rebounds while Gudenkauf scored seven points.
It was basket by Stephens with 5:11 in the second quarter to give Southern Coffey County its first lead of the game. Meyer and Ohl sank free throws and Birk had a basket in the comeback. Treys by Samantha Jacob and Kristen Garland pushed the Lady Titans’ lead to 28-22 with 2:23 left.
“I’m just so proud of these girls. Not even the loss can take away the fact they were members of the first team from Southern Coffey County High to get to a state tournament,” True said. “They’ve had a tremendous season and I could see in their eyes after the game they are ready to get back here next year.”
Ohl led the Lady Titans with 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Birk, who hit three three-pointers, had 13 points and two steals plus handed out nine assists.
Southern Coffey County shot 37 percent, 20 of 51, from the field for the game and went 10 of 14 at the line. The Lady Titans had 17 rebounds, 14 assists and 15 turnovers.
The only senior on the SCCH team was Kristen Yotz. It has six juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen returning next year.
Dighton, which will play defending champion South Gray in the semifinals Friday, shot 50 percent, 23 of 46, from the field and was 12 of 16 on foul shots. Hubin ended up with 17 points and Torson had 12 points. The Lady Hornets had 16 turnovers.
In the other opening-round games Wednesday, South Gray routed Frankfort 66-38, Centralia decked Argonia 72-50 and St. John-Hudson beat Hoxie 57-50,
Southern Coffey County (12-22-15-7—56) (FG/3-pt): Garland 0/1-0-2-3, Birk 2/3-0-2-13, Jacob 1/1-0-3-5, Ohl 4-7-5-15, Meyer 3-2-4-8, Gudenkauf 2/1-0-0-7, Stephens 2-1-2-5. TOTALS: 14/6-10-18-56.
Dighton (16-10-15-21—62) (FG/3-pt): Kat. Cramer 0-0-1-0, Kay. Cramer 10-5-3-25, Torson 3/2-0-2-12, Frise 2-4-3-8, Hubin 4/2-3-1-17, Kuhlman 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 19/4-12-11-62.