Schumacher's late shot helps Indian girls earn win

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Near the end of the first half Tuesday, Hays High School senior guard April Johnson dribbled toward the basket, and the ball came off her hand awkwardly and bounced out of bounds. Johnson covered her face with her hand and then looked toward the rafters.

It wasn't just Johnson. Everyone was struggling. The Hays High girls' basketball team was on pace for 30 turnovers at halftime, and it appeared like the Indians might be on the path to losing their third straight.

And then senior forward Katelyn Schumacher unleashed herself.

Schumacher put the offensive workload on her back in the second half, helping the Indians come back from a 10-point hole, and banked in a last-second shot so Hays High could win 44-42 against Dodge City at the HHS gym.

"Katelyn Schumacher was big," said Hays High head coach Kirk Maska. "She had a huge game for us. We really needed someone to step up."

With the boys off in preparation for the Colby Orange & Black Tournament this week, the girls were in the spotlight Tuesday.

Schumacher responded well playing in the 7 p.m. time slot. She scored 22 points -- half of her team's total points -- on 10-of-18 shooting, and Schumacher's 10 third-quarter points erased a 31-21 deficit.

"I just tried to move on offense and always get open," she said.

The Indians, who played without injured senior guard Megan Bird (stress fracture), improved to 5-5 and 2-2 in the Western Athletic Conference, while Dodge City dropped to 2-6 and 0-3 in the league.

Though Schumacher provided the late-game heroics, Maska said it was the Indians' improved defense that gave her the opportunity.

Hays High switched to a zone defense in the second half, and it seemed to throw Dodge City off.

There was a stretch that extended from the third to fourth quarters where the Red Demons went more than nine minutes without scoring.

"I thought when we switched to the zone, we were a little more patient," Maska said. "We played a little bit better defense. I think that threw them for a little bit of a loop, because they looked out of sync for a while."

The Indians also cut down their turnovers in the second half. After compiling 15 in the first half, Hays High had just nine in the second half.

"We executed a lot better," Maska said. "We wanted to slow it down in the second half and try and eliminate the bazillion turnovers that we had in the first half. They settled in, and they were patient and executed. It was nice to see."

Hays High also dominated the rebounding margin, grabbing 43 to Dodge City's 19.

Schumacher led the way with 12 rebounds, and senior forward Taylor Herman and senior guard Janae Gagnon each had seven.

Dodge City senior Ciera Lampe led the Red Demons with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and a 4-of-9 day from the 3-point line.

Hays High traded jabs with Dodge City early, as the lead changed eight times in the first quarter, but then the Indians fell apart in the second quarter, committing nine turnovers and scoring just six points.

With two and a half minutes gone in the third quarter, Hays High trailed 31-21 -- the largest deficit of the evening for either team.

"We were getting frustrated, but we weren't too nervous," Schumacher said.

"We started getting mad at each other, but we turned it around and started playing better."

Schumacher went on a run in the third quarter where she made 5 of 6 in five and a half minutes. Gagnon provided the tying basket near the end of the third.

Dodge City ended its scoring drought with four minutes remaining in the game and battled to stay in it.

Up 40-39 with 30 seconds to play, Herman got sent to the foul line. She struggled from the field, going 0 for 6, but she did well at the charity strip.

Herman finished 5 of 6 from the foul line for the game, and on that trip, she made 2 of 2 on a one-for-one.

It put Hays High up 42-39, and Dodge City sophomore Chandra Sain responded by making a 3-pointer to tie it with 19 seconds remaining.

Tied with 6.5 seconds remaining, Hays High ran an in bounds play with Schumacher throwing in the pass.

She passed it to Herman, and as Dodge City collapsed on her, Herman passed it back to Schumacher in the lane.

Then Schumacher banked the game-winning shot off the backboard.

"It went exactly as it was planned," Schumacher said. "That's why it was so exciting."