Lady 'Jays finish slate at 20-0
by KEVIN THOMPSON
CIMARRON — With the predictability and power of a Kansas blizzard, the Cimarron Lady Bluejays completed a perfect regular season with a 55-26 win over Southwestern Heights on Saturday in a game that, fittingly, had been postponed twice due to snow.
Originally scheduled for Thursday, the game saw Cimarron, the No. 2 team in Class 3A, move to 20-0 and win the Hi-Plains League title with an 8-0 record.
Everything seemed almost as perfect as their record as the 'Jays dominated the rare afternoon game.
The 'Jays held the Lady Mustangs to just a field goal and a free throw in the opening quarter and just 6 points in the second as Cimarron coasted to a 32-10 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, Cimarron got up 19-1 in the first quarter before Heights scored its lone field goal (a 3-pointer by Tiana Couch) with :08 left.
The 'Jays widened that to 30-3, before Couch drained another three late in the second.
Eva Koopman had 9 points in the first period, and Ashtynn Burns' 11 and Morgan Ediger's 7 led the first-half Cimarron charge.
The defense also forced the Mustangs into 15 turnovers in the first 16 minutes.
That was the near-perfect storm of a half.
The second half was more about running half-court offense and staying focused for Cimarron coach David Ediger.
It was all part of the pattern that has defined this season, he said.
"I told our girls they earned it. Sometimes we made it look pretty easy, but nobody gave us anything," he said. "To go undefeated, and to win the league tournament and the league all in the same season, is something not many teams do."
For the game, Cimarron shot 46 percent from the field but just 1-of-9 from 3-point range.
Burns led the 'Jays with 19 points, her season average. Koopman had 13 points, and Ediger 10. Eight 'Jays got in the scoring column.
Next up is a scheduled home game today to open sub-state play against a 3-17 Scott City team that Ediger said can play ball despite its record.
"We need to be sure we do what we need to in order to win the game. Scott City's a very tough team. We've watched them play, and we know they're pretty good. We're not going to take them lightly," he said. "We're looking forward to the challenge of making it through next week."
If things play out according to seeds, Cimarron would face Holcomb — the team that beat them in last year's sub-state title game — in the sub-state title game to earn a trip to the 3A state tournament at Hutchinson on March 6 through 9.
Heights converted just 8-of-34 field goals (23.5 percent) and committed 23 turnovers.
Ivon Amparan and CC Couch led Heights with 8 points each.
For coach Barry Mellen, it was a tough way to head into sub-state.
"We just didn't do any of the things we've worked on all season," he said. "The thing is, we had nobody who wanted to step up and score in that first quarter or take the ball inside."
SW Heights 4 6 5 11 -- 26
Cimarron 19 13 11 12 -- 55
SW Heights (11-9, 6-2) — Amparan 2 4-6 8, Longoria 1 0-0 3, LaPoint 0 3-5 3, Couch 3 0-0 8, Chavez 2 0-0 4. Totals 8-34 7-11 26.
Cimarron (20-0, 8-0) — Burns 7 4-4 19, Hoskinson 2 0-0 4, I. Koopman 1 0-0 2, Waters 1 0-0 2, Ediger 4 2-2 10, K. Bailon 1 0-0 2, E. Koopman 5 3-3 13, White 2 0-0 4. Totals 23-50 8-8 55.
3-pt. goals--SW Heights 3-11 (Longoria, Couch 2), Cimarron 1-9 (Burns). Rebounds--SW Heights 20 (LaPoint 7), Cimarron 25 (Burns 5, Ediger 5, E. Koopman 5). Turnovers--SW Heights 23, Cimarron 14. Total fouls--SW Heights 12, Cimarron 14. Fouled out--none. .