On January 26, 2018, the Ell-Saline Cardinal girls’ basketball squad defeated Ness City 53-36 in the Hilltop Hoops Classic at Barton Community College in Great Bend.
736 days later and at the same venue in which Ell-Saline had last tasted victory, the Cardinals found their way back into the win column, defeating the Larned Indians 36-30 Friday afternoon to snap a 39-game losing streak and salvage fifth place at the Hilltop Hoops Classic.
Ell-Saline (1-12) turned in arguably its best half of basketball this season in the first half, limiting Larned (0-12) to just 12 points while building a 24-12 advantage.
Following a low scoring third quarter from both squads, the Cardinal held a comfortable 11-point lead entering the fourth quarter. However, the Indians wouldn’t make things easy.
Twice throughout the fourth quarter, Larned cut the Cardinal lead down to four points, the second time coming with just two minutes left to play. Each time, Ell-Saline senior Erin Lange responded with a big bucket to help the Cardinals thwart the Larned momentum and hold on for the six-point victory.
Lange shared team-high scoring honors with junior Reece Ditto as both Cardinals finished with seven points. Sophomore Raleigh Kramer added six points in the win.
Larned was led by freshman Jayme Hagerman who helped fuel the Indian comeback hopes in the second half. Hagerman came off the bench to lead all scorers with ten points – all of those coming in the second half. Senior Kendra Grandy and Junior Julie Tapia each chipped in seven points in the loss.
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
Ell-Saline 10 14 4 8 – 36
Larned 4 8 5 13 – 30