Lady Cougars head to state
For the second consecutive year, the Centre girls’ basketball team has advanced to the state tournament. The second-seed Lady Cougars defeated first-seed Fairfield on Saturday, 60-37, in the championship game of the Class 1A, Division I sub-state tournament at Burrton.
They defeated third-seed Pretty Prairie on Thursday, 44-33.
Centre (17-6) is seeded sixth in the state tournament and faces third-seed St. John-Hudson (21-2) 4:45 p.m. today at White Auditorium in Emporia.
Shelby Makovec, Makenzie Deines, Beka Basore, and Casey Simons all scored in the first quarter of the championship game. The team led 11-10 at the end of the quarter.
Fairfield opened the second quarter with a field goal to take a two-point lead, but from then on, the Lady Falcons trailed. Bryanna Svoboda and Ellie Millie joined the other starters in scoring in the second quarter. Fairfield’s scoring turned cold, and Centre led, 33-18 at halftime.
The Lady Cougars outscored Fairfield 28-19 in the second half for an easy 23-point victory.
The team shot 41 percent from the field. Makovec shot 61 percent from the field, with 21 points, followed by Simons with 16. Svoboda had 9 points, Deines 7, Miller 4, and Basore 3.
The team outrebounded Fairfield, 45-39. Basore had 11 rebounds, Simons 10, and Miller and Deines seven each. Makovec had seven assists and five steals.
Coach Alan Stahlecker said he was anticipating a close game based on the three-point victory they had the previous year over the same team.
“I was very pleased to see us push out to a big lead at halftime,” he said. “This was a fast-paced and intense game from start to finish. This was our best overall performance of the season as we performed well in almost every area of the game.”
He said the Lady Cougars were strong defensively, holding each of Fairfield’s leading scorers to seven points after the team averaged 53 points a game on the season.
Stahlecker said St. John is not particularly big, but they play good defense and extend pressure into the backcourt. He said Centre has averaged more than 50 points a game while St. John has held most of the teams they have played to less than 30 points.
“Something is going to have to give there,” he said. “I believe that we have the offensive ability to challenge their defense and the defensive intensity to hold them in check. I expect it to be a close, competitive game.”
Second round victory
The second-round game against third-seed Pretty Prairie Thursday began as a close contest, but the Lady Cougars eventually pulled away to win, 44-33.
Scoring was limited in the first quarter. Svoboda made the opening basket. Shelby Makovec and Basore also scored. Pretty Prairie scored four points from the field and five points from the free-throw line and led 9-8 at the end of the quarter.
After missing several three-point plays, Makovec sunk a trey early in the second quarter to tie the game at 11. Pretty Prairie took the lead two more times after that, but a basket by Basore put the Lady Cougars ahead for good.
Centre’s scrappy defense intimidated the Lady Bulldogs and limited their scoring. Centre led, 24-16, at halftime.
Deines made two consecutive baskets in the third quarter, and Simons made a trey at the buzzer to give Centre a 33-24 lead.
Simons sunk another trey to open fourth-quarter scoring. Basore and Makovec each added two points, and Svoboda made three free throws and Simons one for an 11-point victory.
Scorers were Makovec, 13; Basore, 10; Svoboda, 8; Simons 7, and Deines, 6.