By BRETT MARSHALL
HAYS — In postseason play, where it's one loss and you're heading home, the only thing that matters at the end of the game is whether its a win or a loss.
Nothing could be more true for South Gray after they escaped with a 60-55 victory over upset-minded Wilson on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state championship at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
"That's the way it always is," Lady Rebels coach Andy Gillen said. "All we're trying to do is live to fight another day and we get to do that."
This was a game of mini-runs throughout the 32 minutes of action.
First, it was South Gray who took a 13-5 lead at the beginning. Then, Wilson answered with a short burst of its own to trail by just four after one quarter. The Rebels would own a 27-18 lead midway through the second, only to have the Lady Dragons put together their own strong stretch and finished the half with a 31-30 edge.
Fouls were a big problem for the Rebels, being whistled for nine in the opening quarter and Wilson converted 13-of-17 free throws to help them claim their slim lead.
"When the game is being called that tight, I just think we didn't do a good job of adjusting to it," Gillen said. "We like to play aggressive but we've got to do a better job of containing people."
In the third period, the Lady Rebels would have a lead no greater than five, but couldn't put the Dragons away. It was 45-43 in favor of South Gray heading into the final eight minutes.
Sophomore Hannah Thomas nailed a critical 3-pointer at the beginning of the fourth to put the Rebels up by five, yet Wilson continued to hang around until the last minute. Junior Mikayla Skidmore proved to be the difference for the Rebels in the closing minutes as she canned a 3-pointer, hit four crucial free throws and made two key assists for easy baskets.
"Mikayla stepped up and we've come to expect that from her," Gillen said.
Skidmore was just glad to win and move into today's semifinal against St. John, the defending champion who dethroned the Lady Rebels a year ago in the title game, 46-35. St. John topped Frankfort, 43-32, in its first round game.
"We've been playing here for three years, but we came out a little flat," Skidmore said. "Wilson's a good team and we were able to do the right things down at the end."
Skidmore said she and the Lady Rebels are excited to have a rematch with the Lady Tigers.
"It will be a blast, we're looking forward to it," Skidmore said. "We'll just have to do better and adjust to the calls and go with the flow."
Skidmore, who finished with a game-high 24 points, also had four assists and two steals.
"I just tried to penetrate and find the open player," she said. "I knew penetrating would just be the best way for us to get to the basket."
Senior Kayla Thomas had a double-double for the Lady Rebels with 16 points and 13 rebounds, including five on the offensive boards. Megan Zelenka and Emily Beneda led Wilson with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The taller Dragons did have a 35-28 rebounding advantage and finished with 22-of-29 free throws off 23 South Gray fouls. The Lady Rebels, who shot 40.7 percent (22-of-54) from the field, were 11-of-17 at the line.
Today's semifinal game for the Lady Rebels was set for 3 p.m. A date in the championship game Friday at 5:30 p.m. awaits the winner while the loser will play for third place at noon on Friday. The Lady Rebels claimed the state crown two seasons ago.
South Gray 60, Wilson 55
WILSON (17-9) — Dlabal 3-9 3-3 9, Steinle 3-9 3-4 9, Beneda 4-6 5-6 13, Zelenka 3-7 7-10 16, Schoenhofer 1-5 1-2 3, Lanter 1-3 3-4 5. Totals 15-39 22-29 55.
SOUTH GRAY (26-0) — Hesser 1-7 0-0 3, Skidmore 8-18 6-8 24, K. Thomas 7-14 2-4 16, Zehr 2-3 0-0 6, H. Thomas 3-9 3-3 9, Kisner 1-2 0-2 2, Watkins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 11-17 60.
Wilson 14 17 12 12 — 55
South Gray 18 12 15 15 — 60
3-point goals — Wilson 3-7 (Dlabal 0-1, Zelenka 3-6), So. Gray 5-19 (Hesser 1-5, Skidmore 2-7, K. Thomas 0-1, Zehr 2-3, H. Thomas 0-3). Rebounds — Wilson 35 (Steinle 10), So. Gray 28 (K. Thomas 13). Turnovers — Wilson 16, So. Gray 7. Assists — Wilson 9 (Dlabal 3), So. Gray 9 (Skidmore 4). Blocked shots — Wilson 0, So. Gray 2 (Zehr 1, H. Thomas 1). Steals — Wilson 0, So. Gray 6 (K. Thomas 3). Fouls — Wilson 17, So. Gray 23. Fouled out — Wilson (Schoenhofer), So. Gray (Zehr).