By RANDY GONZALES
In time, the sting of losing the championship will go away.
The Rexford-Golden Plains High School girls' basketball team, which finished third at last year's Class 1A Division II state basketball tournament, came up short in Saturday's title game at Gross Memorial Colsieum.
The Bulldogs returned home with the runner-up trophy after a 59-40 loss to Baileyville-B&B.
"We're really proud of the girls," Golden Plains coach Parker Christensen said. "They're a little bit discouraged, they're down. In a couple days, a couple weeks, they'll realize what they accomplsihed the last two years."
At least, there will be a Golden Plains High School next year. This is B&B's last year of existence; the school will combine with Seneca-Nemaha Valley next year and be called Nemaha Central.
"It's sad to see another small school close, especially when you're a part of it," said B&B coach Roger Schmelzle, who has been with the school for 16 years. "Just a great way to finish up.
"It's part of the legacy that will always be. You can never take that away from what B&B stood for, what they are."
The B&B girls, who were making the 16th trip to state in school history, won their third title behind three seniors scoring in double figures. Katie Huerter scored a game-high 19 points, Ashley Kramer added 17 and Laura Sudbeck finished with 12.
B&B (24-3) shot 51 percent from the floor for the game and held Golden Plains (22-4) to 41 percent shooting.
Hailee Spresser led Golden Plains with 12 points in her final game in a Bulldog uniform.
"I don't want it to be over, I don't think I ever want it to be over," she said. "I'm really proud of what we accomplished."
B&B combined hot shooting and suffocating defense to take a 28-12 halftime lead.
The Falcons trailed 5-3 midway through the first quarter before going on a 9-2 run. B&B took a 14-9 lead into the second quarter.
Golden Plains went more than 8 minutes without scoring from late in the first quarter until 2:53 was left in the first half, when sophomore point guard Kami Miller scored the Bulldogs' only points of the period on her 3-pointer.
"We executed some things very well, offensively, defensively," Schmelzle said. "Kids played hard. When you execute, play hard, good things are going to happen."
B&B scored the first 12 points of the second quarter, with Laura Sudbeck nailing a pair of 3-pointers and Kramer adding a pair of baskets on short jumpers.
B&B shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half, while holding Golden Plains to 31 percent. The Bulldogs also committed 12 turnovers while the Falcons had 8 steals.
It was more of the same in the second half.
The Falcons outscored the Bulldogs 20-8 in the third quarter to take a 48-20 lead. Golden Plains never got closer than 20 points in the final eight minutes.