Russell girls fall, will play for third By BRETT MARSHALL
Special to The Hays Daily News

HUTCHINSON — It had been 39 years since the Russell High School girls' basketball team made an appearance at a state tournament.

When the 2012-13 season got under way in early December, fourth-year coach Bronco Frank Schulte had drawn up his team's most important goal(s) — get to the Class 3A state tourney, and then win it.

Friday afternoon, they were in the game that was one away for playing in that coveted title game, only Garden Plain derailed that final run to the championship with a solid 57-35 victory in the semifinals at the Sports Arena.

"We played hard, but we just didn't play well," Schulte said. "But we knew we had a big challenge in Garden Plain. They're absolutely fantastic rebounders, they're very physical and they just do things well. They're a terrific team."

It was a methodically-built victory for the Owls. Leading the entire game, they were ahead at the quarter stops 13-8, 29-17 and 43-26.

But it was the rebounding that was the big difference, especially early as the Owls doubled the number of boards for the Broncos in the first half, while taking the 12-point halftime lead.

"I'm proud of the way our girls rebounded," Garden Plain coach Sarah McCormick said. "They work hard every day.

“This is a group of seniors who are experienced and know what to do out there. Last year (first-round loss), they looked over at the bench to see what needed to be done. This time, they knew what to do."

Things were made difficult for the Broncos when Janna Schulte, the team's best rebounder, went to the bench at the 4:31 mark of the first period with two fouls, and in doing so didn't get off any shots and had no rebounds.

"We knew we were going up a really good rebounding team, so when Janna got into foul trouble, it was a big loss for us," Schulte said. "We just didn't have enough inside to counter their big girls. They do a great job of positioning to get rebounds."

She re-entered at the start of the second, with the Broncos down 13-8, and promptly scored two field goals and grabbed a pair of boards to help cut the deficit to 15-12.

Then, once again, the foul bug hit. Schulte got her third with 3:11 to play before halftime. Garden Plain seemed to pick up the momentum and finished off the second on a 8-4 run to go up 29-17 at the break.

The Owls dominated the boards in that first half, doubling the rebounds by an 18-9 advantage and finished with a 32-24 margin.

Madison Beagley was the lone double-figure scorer for Russell, finishing with 11. For Garden Plain, its balanced attack was led by Cassidy Haukap and Alli Heimerman with 13 points each and Natalie Dooley added 11.

Shooting woes also plagued the Broncos, as they went 14-for-38 for 36.8 percent while the Owls were 23-of-50 for 46 percent.

The Broncos will play at noon Saturday in the consolation game against the loser of the later Friday semifinal game against Hilsboro (22-3)

Garden Plain 57, Russell 35
Russell (19-6)
Ptacek 3-5 1-2 7, Beagley 5-13 0-2 11, Morris 0-1 0-0 0, Huff 1-1 2-2 5, Prester 0-5 0-0 0, Boxberger 1-2 0-0 2, Craven 1-1 0-0 2, Schulte 3-7 2-2 8, Kasper 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 14-38 5-8 35.
Garden Plain (24-1)
Bourne 4-9 0-0 8, Dooley 2-4 2-4 6, Haukap 6-9 1-2 13, Renyer 0-1 0-0 0, Costello 1-2 0-0 2, Heimerman 5-16 1-1 13, Dooley 4-7 3-4 11, Doyle 1-1 2-2 4, Hendryx 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-50 6-9 57.
Russell    8 9 9 9 — 35
Garden Plain    13 16 14 14 — 57
3-point goals—Russell 2-8 (Beagley 1-5, Huff 1-1, Prester 0-1, Boxberger 0-1), Garden Plain 5-14 (Heimerman 2-10, Dooley 3-4).
Rebounds—Russell 22 (Schulte 6), Garden Plain 32 (Dooley 6). Turnovers—Russell 19, Garden Plain 14. Assists—Russell 6 (Huff 3), Garden Plain 17 (Heimerman 8). Fouls—Russell 13, Garden Plain 9. Fouled out—none.