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Hoxie girls will defend title; Stockton boys to play for third

By ERNIE W. WEBB III
Special to the Hays Daily News

 EMPORIA – When Danel Stithem shot a crucial 15-footer with less than two minutes remaining in Friday’s Class 1A Division I semifinal against St. John-Hudson, she appeared to have all the confidence in the world.

As it turns out, it only looked that way.

“I was thinking this is scary when I took that shot,” said Stithem, whose team advanced to its third consecutive state championship game with a 47-41 win. “They left me open, so I felt like I needed to take it.”

More than anything, her team needed her to take — and make – the shot. When the jumper rattled in at the 1:35 mark, the Indians had a 44-41 lead. They buckled down defensively the rest of the way, forcing several turnovers down the stretch.

“We definitely picked up the intensity in the fourth quarter. That was the difference,” said Hoxie coach Shelly Hoyt. “We also went to a zone, which I should have done a lot earlier because (St. John’s Teresa Christie) was killing us inside.”

Christie scored eight points in the second half to help the Tigers (22-3) rally from a nine-point deficit. Her layup with 4:10 remaining pulled St. John within 42-41.

But Hoxie (25-0) blocked a layup attempt on the next possession and forced three straight turnovers to secure a spot in the title tilt.

“Being at state before helped us a lot today,” said Stithem, whose team’s average margin of victory was more than 40 points going into the tournament. “We’re used to this kind of pressure and we were calm late in the game.”

Kristina Farber hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 40 seconds to put the game away.

The Indians trailed 16-10 early in the second quarter but closed the half with an 11-4 run to take a 21-20 lead.

They pushed the advantage to nine by outscoring the Tigers 12-4 in the first six minutes of the third quarter.

St. John countered with a 17-9 run during the next six minutes to set up a dramatic final four minutes.

Carly Heim led Hoxie with 13 points, while Stithem had 10. Alex Witt had 12 points and Christie 10 for St. John.

South Haven boys 65, Stockton 60

A little less than five minutes. That’s all that separated the Stockton boys from a spot in the Class 1A Division state championship game.

The upset-minded Tigers (18-7) held a 53-50 lead after Reed Stephens buried a long 3-pointer from the left wing, but the seasoned Cardinals, the 2011 1A Division I runner-up, answered immediately when Austin Showman hit a trey moments later.

“I really think we got a little tired at the end, and our inexperience showed,” said Stockton coach Tom Stephens, whose teams plays at 2 p.m. Saturday for third place. “We also had a lot of foul trouble, and that hurt us.”
Two Tigers fouled out, including 6-foot-4 sophomore Justin Wiltfong, who picked up his fifth less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

“That completely changed things for us when Justin fouled out,” Tom Stephens said. “We’re awfully tough when we have both our big guys on the floor. South Haven was very physical and aggressive, and I thought that bothered us.”

Even without Wiltfong, the Tigers managed to hang around. They led by three with 4:45 left, were tied at the 4:30 mark and trailed by three with less than three minutes left.

Stockton had a chance to tie with a 3-pointer with a little more than a minute remaining but was called for a charge on the possession.

“We had some chances, and we kept fighting,” Tom Stephens said. “This is a really young team, and the kids are really hurting right now. But this was a good season for us, and the guys will learn from the experience.”

The game was close throughout with several ties and lead changes. South Haven led by no more than seven points and Stockton four points.

Jaden Williams had 18 points and Koby Beougher 17 points. Reed Stephens also hit double figures with 11.
Showman had 21 points, Bryce Byers 15 and Lane Cully 12 for the Cardinals (23-2).
 
Girls
HOXIE 47, ST. JOHN-HUDSON 41
St. John (22-3)
Witt 5-7 2-3 12, Te. Christie 5-7 0-2 10, Osborne 4-12 0-0 9, Waters 4-7 0-0 8, Hanson 0-0 2-2 2, Ta. Christie 0-3 0-0 0, Smith 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-38 4-7 41.
 Hoxie (25-0)
Heim 6-8 0-0 13, Stithem 5-7 0-0 10, Spresser 3-6 1-2 9, K. Farber 1-7 5-6 7, Schamberger 3-7 0-0 6, Hoyt 1-2 0-0 2, S. Farber 0-1 0-0 0, Allmer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-38 6-8 47.
St. John           12 8 10 11 — 41
Hoxie      10 11 16 10 — 47
3-point goals – St. John 1-8 (Osborne 1-4, Smith 0-2, Waters 0-2), Hoxie 3-8 (Spresser 2-4, Heim 1-2, Stithem 0-1, Hoyt 0-1).
Rebounds – St. John 24 (Waters 13), Hoxie 19 (Stithem 6). Assists – St. John 12 (Osborne 7), Hoxie 5 (Heim 3). Steals – St. John 3 (Witt 2), Hoxie 7 (Heim 3). Blocks – St. John 3 (Te. Christie 3), Hoxie 1 (Stithem). Turnovers – St. John 12, Hoxie 9. Total fouls – St. John 15, Hoxie 11. Fouled out – Osborne, K. Farber.

Boys
SOUTH HAVEN 65, STOCKTON 58
Stockton (18-7)
Williams 7-9 4-7 18, Beougher 5-7 5-7 17, Stephens 4-8 0-0 11, Wiltfong 3-5 1-3 7, Bellerive 2-4 0-0 4, Hamel 1-7 0-0 3, Kuhlmann 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-40 10-17 60.
 South Haven (23-2)
Showman 6-17 6-6 21, Byers 4-6 4-4 15, Cully 6-7 0-2 12, Ray 3-7 1-2 8, Lowe 1-4 2-4 4, Moreland 1-2 1-1 3, Hawkins 1-4 0-0 2, Schuster 0-2 0-0 0, Harris 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 22-50 14-20 65.
Stockton          11 12 20 15 — 58
South Haven   15 12 16 22 — 65
3-point goals – Stockton 6-15 (Stephens 3-7, Beougher 2-4, Hamel 1-4), South Haven 7-16 (Showman 3-9, Byers 3-5, Ray 1-1, Lowe 0-1).
Rebounds – Stockton 21 (Stephens 5), South Haven 31 (Hawkins 6). Assists – Stockton 14 (Stephens 4), South Haven 11 (Ray 3). Steals – Stockton 8 (Hamel 3), South Haven 7 (Cully 2, Showman 2). Blocks – Stockton 1 (Beougher), South Haven 0. Turnovers – Stockton 14, South Haven 12. Total fouls – Stockton 19, South Haven 17. Fouled out – Beougher, Wiltfong.