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Central Girls Come Up Short in Title Game

Mike Hammett - March 15, 2014 9:57 pm

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The Salina Central girls basketball team came up short in the Class 5A state championship game on Saturday at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, falling to Leavenworth 64-53. The Mustangs end the year at 23-2, with the other loss coming to 6A runner-up Maize.

Leavenworth dominated the game early and late. The Pioneers scored the game’s first eight points before Central finally got on the board on a basket by Hailey Mayfield with 4:25 to go in the first quarter. Leavenworth extended the lead to nine in the first quarter before a free throw by Shaelyn Martin cut the gap to eight at 11-3 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Leavenworth would go up by 10 at 13-3 before the Mustangs started chipping away. Central would slowly cut the lead down to four at 19-15 on free throws by Martin, but Leavenworth went back up five on a free throw by Tyler Johnson with 2:19 left in the half. Central would close the half with a three-point play by Bailey Driver and a three-pointer from Emily Wood in the final seconds to complete the comeback and lead 21-20 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the lead would change hands five more times. Leavenworth hit a pair of threes around a three by Brooke Peters. Then, Mayfield completed a three-point play  to put Central back up one at 27-26 with 4:55 to go in the quarter. Leavenworth answered with a three-point play by Johnson to take the final lead change of the game, going up 29-27. Central would tie the game at 29 on a basket by Martin, but Leavenworth took control after that, getting a three from Emma Zeck and a basket by Johnson to push the lead to 36-31.

Central would get no closer than three at 36-33 and 40-37. Leavenworth led 42-37 after three quarters.

In the final frame, Leavenworth took over with its size inside. Crashing the offensive glass, the Pioneers outscored the Mustangs 22-16 in the final frame, but used a 10-0 run mid-way through the quarter to put the game away. The Pioneers led by as much as 16 in the final frame.

Central was paced by Wood’s 16 points, while Mayfield had 15 and Martin had 14 in their final games. Johnson had 20 points to lead the Pioneers. It is Leavenworth’s first state championship in girls’ basketball.

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