Indian girls come up short in fifth-place game at Mac
By KLINT SPILLER
McPHERSON -- One team was hot, and one team was not Saturday in the fifth-place game of the Mid-America Classic.
Unfortunately for the Hays High School girls' basketball team (6-7), it was the team that was not.
The Indians shot 23.9 percent from the field in a 54-34 loss to Valley Center.
"A lot of it was they beat us back over and over again," Indian coach Kirk Maska said. "The more we talked about it, it seemed like the more they beat us back. We gave them great opportunities and made it easy for them to get short shots. I don't know if we did anything to adjust to them offensively or defensively."
It was the worst shooting day of the tournament for Hays High. Even in the Indians' 68-28 first-round loss to McPherson, they shot 35.3 percent.
Valley Center shot 40.8 percent from the field in the game, but the Hornets did their best shooting in the first half, making 11 of 24 field goals and 4 of 8 3-pointers.
The Indians played hard, out rebounding Valley Center 44 to 32, but their boards didn't translate to points as the Indians scored 10 second-chance points off 20 offensive rebounds.
"I was extremely worried about this game and rightfully so," said Valley Center head coach Daniel Smith. "They are a good basketball team, and they compete super hard. I would say that they were more intense and more physical and more aggressive than we were. We just happened to make the shots this game."
Valley Center 8-4) came into the consolation semifinals losing three straight, but the losses were all to ranked Class 5A and 6A squads. The Hornets now have won two in a row.
"I feel comfortable with where we are at, but I'm certainly not satisfied with it," Smith said. "There are numerous things on a practice level that we have to get better at it. ... Our rebounding and our closeouts right now are on an embarrassing level, and they need to tighten up if we are going to beat teams like that."
No Indians reached double figures in the contest, but senior forward Katelyn Schumacher led the team with eight points.
Senior point guard Janae Gagnon added seven points, and sophomore guard Mattie Schlaefli and senior forward Emily Braun each had five.
Schumacher also led the squad with 10 rebounds.
"The most disappointing thing was we didn't raise our level of play," Maska said.
Hays High started the game strong. Valley Center committed four turnovers on its first four possessions, helping the Indians build an 8-4 lead with three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
But then Hays High went cold and got sloppy with the ball. The Indians committed four turnovers in the final three minutes of the quarter, and Valley Center went on a 10-0 run to lead 14-8 at the end of the first.
"They switched to a zone," Maska said. "To beat a zone that's packed in, you've got to hit some outside shots. We didn't get anything to fall. They kind of stayed with it and built a big lead, because we weren't getting back on defense. It was a pretty tough hole to crawl out of."
Valley Center increased its lead by even more in the second quarter, taking a 31-16 halftime lead, and gradually increased its lead from then on.
Hornet senior forward Elayna Coleman led the squad in scoring with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and senior guard Madison Wedekin added nine points.
Hays High returns to action Tuesday at Salina South (10-2), ranked No. 5 in Class 5A.
Indians win in consolation semifinals
Hays High didn't need a last-second shot to defeat Dodge City like it did Jan. 15 at the HHS gym.
The Indians defeated Dodge City 58-52 in the consolation semifinals Friday at McPherson.
Like on Jan. 15, Hays High senior forward Katelyn Schumacher dominated Friday. Schumacher scored 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
Hays High senior point guard Janae Gagnon and senior forward Taylor Herman added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Gagnon also led the squad with eight rebounds.
The Indians trailed at halftime 30-29, but they used a strong second half to secure their six-point victory.
Dodge City sophomore guard Chandra Sain led her squad with 25 points. She shot 5 of 10 from beyond the arc and made 6 of 6 free throws.