By KLINT SPILLER
Special to the Telegram
HAYS — The Ingalls girls' basketball team had Hutchinson-Central Christian High School on the ropes heading into the fourth quarter of the semifinals of the 1A Division II state basketball tournament on Friday at Hays' Gross Memorial Coliseum.
After holding Central Christian scoreless for nine minutes and 17 seconds, the Bulldogs battled back with an 8-0 scoring run, and trailed Central Christian 22-21 with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Then the dam burst, as Central Christian (24-1) unleashed a flurry of offense down the stretch, scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter on its way to a 41-30 win.
Ingalls dropped to 15-10 and will play in the third-place game at noon today in Gross Memorial Coliseum.
"One team has got to win and one team has to lose," Ingalls coach Roger Thurlow said. "I could not be more proud of the effort my girls gave. They are fighters."
Ingalls' half-court trap stifled Central Christian's offense, forcing 26 turnovers, but Central Christian smothered the Bulldogs as well. Ingalls shot just 20 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers.
"We knew what they were going to do," Thurlow said. "We knew they were going to give us an open jump shot, and all we had to do was hit a wide-open jump shot, and we just couldn't do it."
Ingalls sophomore Tara Whipple led her team in scoring with 16 points off 5-of-14 shooting and 6-of-9 from the free throw line.
"It was one of the better performances I've had, but I just couldn't get a couple shots to fall," Whipple said.
Ingalls' leading scorer freshman forward Rebecca Wyatt was contained to just five points and five rebounds.
"They took her out of the game and dared us to shoot jump shots," Thurlow said. "We just didn't make enough tonight."
Central Christian junior Jamie Patrick led the Cougars with a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She also had a game-high five assists.
Thurlow said he wanted his team to focus on stopping Patrick, and the half-court trap was fairly effective in doing that, as she finished with eight turnovers.
"We were going to limit her drives," Thurlow said. "We were going to limit her open jump shots. We didn't go to a box-and-one or anything like that. We just wanted to make it hard for her to get in a rhythm."
Ingalls kept the game close through the majority of the first half, but Central Christian broke loose right before half, as Patrick made a jumper with 19 seconds remaining.
Ingalls dominated the third quarter, not only allowing a Central Christin score for the aforementioned nine minutes but also allowing the Cougars to only get five shots off in that time.
"We just didn't reverse the ball quick enough on them early in the game," Central Christian coach Erin Patrick said. "We made an adjustment where we faked it one way and went over the top the other way."
Then Patrick iced the game at the free throw line, shooting 9-of-13 from the foul line.
"They had a little bit left in the tank more than we did," Thurlow said. "They calmed down and quit turning the ball over and took care it, and they got some easy shots."
Ingalls 9 4 7 10 -- 30
Central Christian 14 6 2 19 -- 41
Droste 2-7 1-2 5, Whipple 5-14 6-9 16, Galaviz 0-1 0-0 0, R. Wyatt 2-6 1-2 5, C. Wyatt 0-5 0-0 0, Schmidt 1-6 0-0 3, Estrada 0-10 0-0 0, Wendel 0-1 1-2 1. Totals — 10-50 9-15 30.
Central Christian (24-1)
Hagen 1-2 1-2 3, Patrick 4-6 9-11 17, Ensz 2-7 1-5 5, Alderson 4-5 0-0 8, Krehbiel 1-4 1-2 3, Murray 1-4 2-3 5. Totals — 13-28 14-23 41.
3-point goals — Ingalls 1-10 (Schmidt 1-5, Estrada 0-5); Central Christian 1-5 (Murray 1-3, Patrick 0-1, Krehbiel 0-1). Total fouls — Ingalls 20, Central Christian 13. Fouled out — Ingalls (Droste, R. Wyatt). Technical fouls — Ingalls-TEAM.
Rebounds — Ingalls 27 (Whipple 5, Galaviz 5, R. Wyatt 5); Central Christian 36 (Patrick 11, Krehbiel 10). Turnovers — Ingalls 15, Central Christian 26.