Friday was a good day to be a Cardinal. The Cheney girls and boys teams won their 3A semifinal games to advance to Saturday’s Class 3A State championship.
The girls overcame a slow start to beat Thomas More Prep 54-43, while the boys defeated Southeast of Saline 49-41 in overtime.
Saturday’s championship games (4 p.m., 6:15 p.m.) can be heard on KXKU 106.1 FM or online at www.adastraradio.com. The Times-Sentinel will be at the game and will have updates on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Cheney girls 54, TMP 43
The Cardinals fell behind TMP 9-2 early in Friday’s semifinal game. Starting center Haley Albers picked up two quick fouls and spent most of the first half on the bench. Madison Freund came off the bench in her place, and quickly got two fouls, as well. Kadie Smith later got into foul trouble.
Despite those problems, the Cardinals fought back in the first quarter, tying the game 10-10, then taking a 12-10 lead when Kennedy Higgins fed the ball to Smith for a basket and a 12-10 lead. A Cheney foul let TMP tie the game 12-12 on free throws with .6 seconds left in the quarter.
Smith gave the Cardinals boost in the second quarter. She scored a basket on a put-back for a 15-12 lead. On the next possession, she drove to the basket and drew a TMP foul, making both free throws.
At halftime, Cheney led 24-19.
The lead got to 7 points in the third quarter when Kirsten Campbell grabbed a rebound and fed to ball to Smith, who scored from under the basket. TMP came back, however, scoring on a steal for a 31-31 tie. Cheney led 36-34 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, a three-point basket by Albers gave Cheney a 5-point lead early in the quarter. Again, TMP closed the gap, pulling to within 2 points, 39-37, on a free throw. Smith responded for Cheney on the next possession, scoring from in the lane and drawing a foul. She completed the three-point play for a 42-37 advantage with about five minutes to play. With 4:30 left, Albers made a shot for a 44-37 lead.
At the other end of the court, as the game clock fell below three minutes to play, TMP’s shot selection became more desperate. TMP missed three-point shots on consecutive possessions and traveled on another.
Cheney’s offense struggled as well late in the game. After Emily Monson scored on a fast break for a 47-39 lead, the Cardinals turned the ball over twice and committed a late foul. They went just 5-for-12 from the free throw line during a stretch in the final minutes of the game. But, combined with their defense, the hit enough to hold on to the lead.
Now Cheney will play top seed Hugoton, which is now 25-0. The Eagles came into the tournament as the only undefeated team in Class 3A. If the Cardinals win and raise the State championship trophy, they will have beaten the No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 teams in the state.
Smith led Cheney with 14 points and Albers – who was fighting a migraine – scored 13. The Cardinals got scoring from a total of eight players. The other scorers were Monson 8, Wewe 6, Kalie Jones 4, Campbell 4, Freund 3 and Miranda Ortiz 2. Cheney’s bench outscored TMP’s bench 15-6.
Tipoff is at 4 p.m. at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Cheney boys 49, Southeast of Saline 41 OT
It was a tale of two halves for Cheney. The Cardinals stifled Southeast’s offense in the first half while building a 25-13 lead.
Cheney built an 8-2 lead over the first four minutes of the game, and took a 7-point lead, 11-4, on a basket interference call against Southeast. At the end of the first quarter, Cheney led 11-7.
A 9-2 Cheney run helped the Cardinals take 9-points lead, 20-11, with 2:06 left in the half.
Southeast’s Jackson Montgomery – who scored a game-high 19 points – scored from in the lane to cut Cheney’s lead to 20-13 with just under two minutes to play in the half.
The Cardinals responded a basket by Tyler White and a three-point shot by Lakin Petz to close the half on a 5-0 for a 25-13 halftime lead.
Things changed in the second half. Cheney went to a slowed-down offense to limit Southeast’s dangerous fast-break offense. But the Cardinals committed seven of their 13 turnovers in the second half, while Southeast turned the ball over just twice after the break. Southeast outscored the Cardinals 16-6 in the third quarter to climb back into the game. At the start of the fourth, Cheney’s lead was just 31-29.
Southeast tied the game 31-31 at the start of the fourth on an offensive rebound. Trey Patterson scored four times to give the lead back to the Cardinals, but each time, Southeast answered to tie the game. Throughout the fourth, it felt as if the Cardinals were sticking figures into a dam that was springing new leaks every minutes. They plugged enough holes, however, as the teams ended regulation tied 39-39.
The overtime seemed to give new life and new confidence to the Cardinals. Cheney won the tipoff and missed a shot on its opening possession. Southeast managed three shots on its first possession before the Cardinals finally got the rebound.
On the next trip down the floor, Petz drained a three-point shot for a 42-37 lead that excited a large home crowd and a rabid student section that wanted to see a second team playing for a State title.
Southeast missed a shot on its next possession. Petz grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball up the court, feeding it to Patterson at the last minute, who scored for a 44-37 lead with 1:57 to play.
Southeast scored at the other end to make it 44-39 with 1:30 to play.
On Cheney’s next possession, Petz was fouled with 1:10 to play. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Patterson grabbed the rebound and was quickly fouled by Southeast. He made two free throws for a 46-41 lead.
On Southeast’s next possession, they badly missed a three-point shot that went out of bounds. On the inbounds, the Cardinals got the ball to Patterson on a long pass. He quickly scored and was fouled. He made the free throw for a 49-41 lead with 39.6 seconds to play. Brendon Dewey blocked Southeast’s next shot attempt and Trent Scheer grabbed the ball, and the celebration started.
Patterson and Petz powered Cheney’s offensive with a combined 30 points, but the Cardinals got scoring from all eight players who got on the court. Patterson led the team with 17 and Petz had 13. Other scorers were Scheer 4, Micah Grover 4, Hunter Adolph 3, Lane Grace 3, Tyler White 3 and Dewey 2.
The Cardinals will again be the underdog in Saturday’s championship, where they will play Marysville. The Bulldogs (21-4) are the tournament’s No. 3 seed and were ranked fourth in the final KCBA poll.
Being an underdog hasn’t fazed the Cardinals yet. Cheney beat No. 2-ranked Hesston soundly in substate, and scored a 10-point victory in the State first round over Norton, which was ranked third in the final poll and was the tournament’s top seed.
Tipoff is at 6:15 p.m. at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.