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Golden Plains girls advance to semifinals

By NICK McQUEEN
nmcqueen@dailynews.net
Heading into Thursday's Class 1A Division II quarterfinal matchup, Rexford-Golden Plains High School girls' basketball coach Parker Christensen had one prime concern.
He thought about how his Bulldogs, last year's third-place state team, were going to handle Wilson 6-foot junior Adrianna Florke, the Dragons' leading scorer at 15 points a night.  
It didn't take long for Golden Plains, the No. 3 seed in this year's state finale, to put a plan to good use. The Bulldogs went right after the Dragons' leader, and eventually the plan worked.
Golden Plains took Florke out of the equation, pulled away in the second quarter, and eventually claimed its second straight quarterfinal win, 57-37, at Gross Memorial Coliseum. It came against the same program the Bulldogs defeated a season ago for third.
“We wanted to see if we could get them in some foul trouble, or at least get at them and hit some shots,” Christensen said.
That mission was accomplished on Florke. She had four points, but picked up her third foul at the 6:48 mark of the second quarter, and notched just two more points the rest of the way.
“They like to block shots. They changed some shots early in the game, but we just had to keep going in there,” Christensen said. “Eventually we got them in some foul trouble and then we were able to get some shots made.”
With the center on the bench, Golden Plains (21-3) closed the second quarter on a 12-6 run to take a 26-17 lead into the locker room.
“We have to have her out there,” Wilson coach Rod Seehafer said of Florke. “When we did get her the ball, they really didn't have an answer.
“We just didn't get her the ball when we needed to at times,” he added.“That took her out of the game.”
Sophomore point guard Kami Miller was the Bulldogs' answer early in the second quarter, then senior forward Hailee Spresser keyed the long run with six points.
Golden Plains also took the drive away for Wilson senior Shania Steinike, who came in averaging 12 points per night.
“(Steinikie) was able to penetrate on us and split two of us,” Christensen said. “We just needed to do a little better job of that.
“We did a really good job on the Florke girl,” he added. “She scored a little bit, but they like to just throw it up to her and have her jump to catch it. We did a real good job on that.”
After the break, Bulldog leading scorer, senior Jordan Christensen, found her shot. After she went 0 for 5 before intermission, Christensen broke out for eight third-quarter points, and finished with a game-high 16 and was 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Spresser finished with 15 points.
“We stayed with them for about a quarter and a half, we just didn't finish,” said Seehafer. “We had to stay out of foul trouble and we had to rebound, and we didn't do either one of those.”
Golden Plains eventually stretched the lead to 20 by the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter after Christensen's third 3.
“We feel pretty good. It helped us we were here last year,” coach Christensen said. “And maybe our nerves didn't last as long, or weren't quite to the level they were last year.”
Golden Plains is assured of its second straight top-four finish, its fifth Final Four overall.
The Bulldogs will play No. 2 seed Bucklin (21-3) at  3 p.m. Friday.
“There are going to be four good teams in the semifinals here,” coach Christensen said. “It's not about who wants it more, it's about who can get some defensive stops and who can execute the best.”

Bucklin 56, St. John's-Tipton 49 (OT)
At one point in Wednesday's first game, second-seeded Bucklin managed a 22-7 lead on a young St. John's-Tipton team that starts two freshmen.
But the Blujays battled back. St. John's-Tipton held Bucklin scoreless for a five-minute stretch in the third quarter, then freshman Brenna Eilert hit a 3-pointer with 4 seconds to play in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
That was all the magic the Blujays had left. Bucklin, led by team-high 18-point performances from junior Janae Price and senior Morgan Hood, a Fort Hays State University signee, outscored the Blujays 13-6 in overtime to claim the victory.
Eilert finished with 24 points in the program's second state appearance.

Bucklin 56, St. John's-Tipton 49 (OT)
BELOIT/ST. JOHN'S-TIPTON (17-8)
Brenna Eilert 11-24 1-4 24, Smith 0-3 1-2 1, H. Eilert 0-0 1-2 1, Niewald 2-5 2-4 6, Hollerich 3-6 0-0 7, Smith 0-1 2-4 2, Arthur 0-1 0-0 0, Walter 2-6 0-0 5, Bates 1-5 0-0 3. Totals — 19-51 716 49.
BUCKLIN (21-3)
Janae Price 8-12 2-6 18, Morgan Hood 5-11 8-10 18, Allyson Rudd 4-8 5-5 15, Demoret 1-6 0-0 2, Long 1-3 1-2 3, Pegelow 0-2 0-0 0. Totals — 19-44 16-25 56.
St. John's-Tipton    4 11 10 18 6 — 49
Bucklin    17 9 4 13 13 — 56
3-point goals — SJT 4-20 (Smith 0-3, Niewald 0-1, Eilert 1-4, Hollerich 1-2, Walter 1-5, Bates 1-5); Bucklin 2-6 (Hood 0-1, Rudd 2-5). Assists — SJT 4 (H. Eilert 3); Bucklin 7 (Demoret 3). Steals — 14 (H. Eilert 4); Bucklin 10 (Price 6). Blocks — SJT 5 (B. Eilert 3); Bucklin 1 (Hood). Total fouls — SJT 21, Bucklin 11. Fouled out — Hollerich, Smith, SJT.
Rebounds — SJT 29 (B. Eilert 8); Bucklin 34 (Hood 11). Turnovers — SJT 18, Bucklin 19.

Golden Plains 57, Wilson 37
WILSON (17-7)
Shania Steinike 6-11 2-9 14, Florke 3-6 0-2 6, Roberson 1-8 2-2 4, Ptacek 4-7 1-1 9, A. Roberson 0-2 0-0 0, Trasher 0-1 0-0 0, Homeier 1-2 0-0 2, Hoch 0-3 0-0 0, Weinhold 1-2 0-0 2. Totals — 16-43 5-14 37.
GOLDEN PLAINS (21-3)
Jordan Christensen 5-11 3-3 16, Hailee Spresser 4-10 7-9 15, Miller 2-8 3-4 8, Rush 1-2 0-1 2, Lobato 2-5 1-3 5, Schiltz 1-3 0-0 3, Ritter 1-3 0-0 2, Walz 3-4 0-0 6. Totals — 19-46 14-20 57.
Wilson    7 10 8 12 — 37
Golden Plains    11 15 16 15 — 57
3-point goals — Wilson 0-4 (A. Roberson 0-2, Thrasher 0-1, Homeier 0-1); Golden Plains 5-8 (K. Miller 1-1, Christensen 3-5, Schiltz 1-2). Assists — 6 (D. Roberson 2); Golden Plains 13 (Rush 5). Steals — Wilson 3 (Three with 1); Golden Plains 12 (Christensen 4, MIller 3). Blocks — Wilson 2 (Steinike, D. Roberson); Golden Plains 0. Total fouls — Wilson 16, Golden Plains 13. Fouled out — D. Roberson, Wilson.
Rebounds — Wilson 32 (Florke 8); Golden Plains 30 (Christensen 4, Lobato 4). Turnovers — Wilson 17, Golden Plains 7.