The Abilene Cowgirls cinderella run came to an end Friday night at Clay Center in a 39-29 loss to the Lady Tigers. Clay Center returns to state for a second straight year. Last year they lost in the first round in Class 3A. The will be the #7 seed at the 4A state tournament next week in Salina.
Abilene lost 55-25 in their previous trip to Clay Center but Friday’s matchup was much more competitive. The Cowgirls trailed by as many as 11 in the first half but cut the deficit to 23-20 at the end of the third quarter. The Cowgirls ended that quarter on a 6-0 run, that featured a three-point play from Jenna Hays and a three-pointer by Joy Clemence. Hayes led Abilene with 12 points on the night.
Clay Center would open the fourth quarter with back-to-back three-pointers by Lexi Liby and Shelby Siebold to push the lead 29-22 with 6:50 to play in the game. The duo combined for 6 made three-point baskets on the night. Siebold led all scorers with 13 points, Liby finished with 9 and Clara Edwards totaled 10 points. Edwards entered the game averaging 16.3 points per game and had scored 21 and 18 in two victories during the regular season. The Cowgirls scored five straight points on a run that was capped by Abi Lillard to pull to within 31-27 with 4:04 to play but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the night.
Abilene finished the season 6-16 while Clay Center improved to 16-6. It was the final game for five Abilene Seniors Annie Bathurst, Beth Holmes, Deserae Meade, Hannah Snowball and Jade Vopat.