Lady Titans win 1A substate title

Southern Coffey County to make first trip to 1A state basketball tournament

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register File Photo/Jocelyn Sheets
Southern Coffey County High’s Kristin Stephens puts up a shot during a 1A regional game recently. On Saturday, Stephens and the Lady Titans captured a Kansas Class 1A Substate title and earned a trip to the Class 1A state tournament in Hays this week.

EMPORIA — What a difference a year makes.
Southern Coffey County High’s Lady Titans used what they learned a year ago in losing a substate final to win a Kansas Class 1A Substate Championship in 2009.
In defeating Hutchinson Central Christian High’s Cougars 53-33 Saturday, the Lady Titans knocked down a wall. They put themselves in the history books at SCCH.
“These girls don’t like to lose,” said Jeff True, Lady Titan head coach, in the Register’s preseason preview of the 2008-2009 season. As a sophomore-led team last year, Southern Coffey County lost to Dexter in a substate title game.
Now, in its very short history — Southern Coffey County High is in its sixth year of existence — the Lady Titans are the first team to reach a state tournament.
Southern Coffey County (23-2) go into Kansas Class 1A State Basketball Tournament play later this week as the No. 5 seed. They will play another 23-2 team in Dighton in Wednesday’s opening round.
More on the Lady Titans’ first state trip and first-round game will be in Tuesday’s Register.
Southern Coffey County High’s roots run deep in southeast Kansas. Six years ago Gridley and Le Roy, which were in the same school district, consolidated into one school.
“No team in anyone’s memory from either school has gone to a state basketball tournament before,” said True.
“This is exciting for the kids. It was great to see their reaction when they won the substate championship game Saturday.”
When the Lady Titans and the Cougars were in a tight opening quarter Saturday, the Lady Titans showed what they had learned. Up 19-14 after one quarter, the Lady Titans took control, outscoring the Cougars 16-6.
Southern Coffey County built on its 35-20 halftime lead with a 10-6 run in the third quarter. The Lady Titans finished it off with eight points in the fourth period while holding Christian Central to seven points.
“We put together four solid quarters of basketball Saturday night,” True said. “I thought our defense did a great job.”
On a team powered by juniors, Shelby Birk hit three “big” three-pointers early in the game to get the Lady Titans started. True said Birk also did a great job containing Central Christian’s top player — Laura Patrick without Birk getting in foul trouble.
“The rest of the team played good help defense throughout the game,” True said.
Patrick finished with 15 points but no other Cougar player reached double figures in scoring. Jamie Patrick had nine.
The Lady Titan defense allowed the Cougars only 28 shots from the field. They hit 10 of them. Central Christian knocked down 12 of 18 free-throw attempts.
For Southern Coffey County, Birk finished with 16 points. Junior Laurie Ohl poured in 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five steals.
Sophomore Kristen Stephens pulled down nine of the Lady Titans’ 38 rebounds. Junior Kristen Garland handed out five assists and had three steals. Samantha Jacob, a sophomore, had three steals.
Southern Coffey County shot 37.5 percent, 21 of 56, from the field. The Lady Titans were 7 of 17 at the free-throw line.
Southern Coffey County (19-16-10-8—53) (FG/3-pt): Birk 2/3-3-2-16, Jacob 1/1-1-3-6, Ohl 8-1-4-17, Meyer 1-0-4-2, Gudenkauf 2-0-1-4, Shields 0-0-1-0, Stephens 3-2-3-8. TOTALS: 17/4-7-18-53.
Central Christian (14-6-6-7—33) (FG/3-pt): L. Patrick 2/1-8-2-15, Brock 1-0-5-2, J. Patrick 3-3-3-9, Krehbiel 3-1-2-7, Belton 0-0-4-0, Enez 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 9/1-12-17-33.