Ellis boys, girls second at Caste Rock
By KLINT SPILLER
QUINTER — Ellis boys' basketball coach Chris Rorabaugh was at a loss for words after the championship game of the Castle Rock Classic.
After a hot start to the game, Ellis suffered a vicious cold streak in the second half and fell 55-53 to Dighton in the title game Saturday at the Quinter High School gymnasium.
"It's very disappointing," Rorabaugh said. "I don't know what else to say."
The Railroaders (2-2) put on a clinic in the first half, shooting 15 of 31 from the field and dominating the rebounding margin 23 to nine.
The second half wasn't nearly as pleasant for Ellis. The Railers made just 3 of 13 in the third quarter and 6 of 18 in the fourth.
Ellis had an 11-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter, and by halfway through the third quarter, the Railers already squandered it.
"It just seemed like we could score anytime we wanted to early," Rorabaugh said. "We just missed too many good shots. The shots were there, but if you can't make those bunnies, then you're not going to beat anybody, I guess."
Dighton (4-0) won the tournament title with incredible play from its guards.
Hornets senior Ryan Kuhlman posted 23 points on 6-of-13 shooting, 3 of 4 from the 3-point line and 8 of 13 from the foul line, and junior guard Isaac Alinor added 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
"The Dighton kids fought hard and came back," Rorabaugh. "We hit a lull."
Ellis created its success in the first half by feeding its big men early.
Senior forwards Luke Lohrmeyer, 6-foot-4, and Thatcher Brown, 6-foot-6, combined to go 8 of 12 from the field in first half.
In the second half, Brown was 0 for 7, and Lohrmeyer made 1 of 4 in the final four minutes.
"We just couldn't get it going," Lohrmeyer said. "There's not much you can do when you can't get it going besides try to shoot more and hope they start falling."
Lohrmeyer had a rough ending to the game, but before that, he couldn't miss. He finished the game 10 of 15 for a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
Senior Tyler Walters added 10 points, and Brown finished with 6 points on 3-of-13 shooting while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.
"I think the only thing we really can do is buckle down on defense and not let the other team score, but obviously we didn't do that and let them back into the game."
The Hornets went on a 9-2 run from the end of the second quarter to midway through the third to get themselves back in the game, and from then on, the two teams traded jabs as the lead changed seven times.
"I think our intensity fell down, and our defense dropped off after that," Lohrmeyer said. "It killed us. We let them get back in it."
Both of the Railers' losses have come after they lost a fourth-quarter lead. They lost to Phillipsburg in their season opener.
"There's a lot of basketball left," Rorabaugh said. "We just need to regroup."
Ellis girls crushed under Hoxie's pressure
The Railers struggled in Saturday's girls championship game at the Castle Rock Classic.
Ellis lost 67-41 to Hoxie, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A Division I, in a sloppy, turnover-filled game. It was a battle of undefeated teams, as
Ellis dropped to 3-1 and Hoxie improved to 4-0.
"We didn't play very well at all, but we won the game," Hoxie head coach Shelly Hoyt said. "We had too many turnovers and too many fouls. But that's a good team that attacks the basket well. We just kind of stood around. It's too bad you feel bad after a win."
Hoxie jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, as the Indians' full-court press frustrated Ellis all evening.
"They pressure harder than basically anybody that we are going to see all year," Ellis head coach Perry Mick said. "There are going to be times where we don't handle it very well. We have a lot of young girls out there."
Hoxie junior Kristina Farber and sophomore Carly Heim led the Indians in scoring with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Sophomore Lexi Schamberger added nine points.
Junior Kaleigh Soneson and freshman phenom Alexcia Deutscher led Ellis in scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Deutscher was one of Ellis' top players in the game, but she got in foul trouble late and missed much of the third and fourth quarters because of it.
With her out, Hoxie managed to increase its lead by even more.
"We lean on her pretty heavy for a freshman," Mick said. "There's a little bit of pressure on her, and she did get in some foul trouble.
We are probably not as good when she's not in there, so it probably hurt to have her sitting."
In the third-place games, the Hoxie boys defeated Atwood-Rawlins County 61-50, while the Grainfield/Wheatland-Grinnell girls beat Rexford-Golden Plains 50-41.
In the boys' third-place game, Hoxie jumped ahead early, taking a 37-17 lead into halftime, and Rawlins County wasn't able to catch up.
Hoxie junior guard Chase Kennedy led the Indians in scoring with 15 points, while sophomores Connor Katt and Tyler Ewers added 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Rawlins County 6-foot-6 junior James Peterson handled the load for the Buffaloes, scoring 24.
On the girls' side, Wheatland-Grinnell had three players reach double figures: senior Brooke Ostmeyer with 12, junior Tristan
Rathgeber with 11 and junior Hannah Gillespie with 10.
Golden Plains junior Kylie Jones and junior Jordan Christensen scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.