McPHERSON — Playing its second of four games in five days, the Hays High School girls’ basketball team didn’t get off to a good start Thursday in the Mid-America Classic at the McPherson Roundhouse.
It never got much better.
The Hays High girls suffered a 15-2 run by Wichita Northwest early as the No. 2 seeded Indians dropped a 47-27 decision to the Grizzlies, and now will settle for the consolation side of the bracket in their final appearance in the tournament.
Hays High had a horrendous shooting night, turned the ball over 25 times, and scored its fewest points this season while dropping its second straight contest.
“We just didn’t come out like we were ready to play and that’s probably my fault,” Indian coach Kirk Maska said. “I would have never suspected we would have 25 turnovers, especially with a team that really wasn’t pressuring us.”
The loss drops Hays High into Friday’s 3 p.m. consolation semifinal against Shawnee Mission Northwest.
The closest the Indians were all night was the 5-2 deficit they saw in the first quarter. The Indians couldn’t find the bucket, while Wichita Northwest used some big 3s early to lead 12-2 at the end of the first quarter and 22-8 by halftime.
“We found ways to muck it up and it just wasn’t pretty,” Maska said. “We had a lot of good opportunities to score early and none of them fell. I don’t know how many layups we missed in the first quarter, but if we hit 50 percent of those I think it’s a tight ball game and we’re looking at things differently the rest of the way.”
Hays High (8-3) — the No. 6 ranked team in Class 4A Division I — hit just 3 of 24 from the floor before halftime with its other two points coming off free throws.
The third quarter didn’t get much better for the Indians.
“They started letting things bother them, then we start getting in foul trouble and it just kind of snowballed from there,” Maska said.
Indian sophomore Brooke Denning missed a 3-pointer to start the second half, and Wichita Northwest (6-5) hit a layup on the other end, and the Grizzlies widened the gap to as much as 22 before Hays High attempted to rally. The Indians managed just nine points in the third quarter, but eventually pulled to within 13 in the fourth.
HHS junior Savannah Schneider, who had 21 points in Tuesday’s loss to Salina Central, didn’t score her first points Thursday until the 5:21 mark of the fourth quarter. She was one of four Indians to end with five points.
“I thought we had the good shots, they just weren’t falling,” Maska said. “Then we started passing up the good shots and making the next pass that wasn’t there and that started resulting in turnovers.”
The Indians finished 11 of 47 from the floor (23 percent), but still managed to hold Wichita NW to 47 points with 23 turnovers.
On the consolation side of the loaded field, Hays High will face Shawnee Mission Northwest, the No. 8 ranked team in 6A. SMNW fell 41-40 in overtime to Manhattan, the third seed of the tourney and No. 2 ranked team in 6A, in the first game Thursday.