By BRETT MARSHALL
CIMARRON — Two weeks ago, the Scott City Lady Beavers had thrown a scare into the Cimarron Lady Bluejays in a 39-36 loss on the Bluejays' home court.
In that game, the Lady 'Jays had been without the services of sophomore starting guard Ashtynn Burns, recovering from a concussion.
So when the teams met again on Tuesday night, this time in the Class 3A sub-state quarterfinals, and with Burns back in the lineup, it would have been no surprise that the 19-2 BlueJays were expected to breeze past the 6-14 Beavers.
But somebody forgot to tell that to the underdogs.
Scott City gave Cimarron everything it had — and more than Cimarron hoped — before succumbing late in a 47-42 Bluejay victory. The win sends the Bluejays into Friday's semifinal against Phillipsburg, a 54-42 winner over Norton on Tuesday.
Cimarron turned the ball over 28 times against an aggressive 1-2-2 zone defense employed by Scott City.
"If we keep playing like that, we'll be done in a hurry," said a disappointed, but relieved, Cimarron coach David Ediger. "I think the expectation of being the higher seed, people expecting us to win easily, had something to do with being a little nervous. But Scott City's a good team. I don't care what their record says. They're a tough matchup."
The Bluejays couldn't shake the Beavers until the closing minutes.
"We got in a huddle and told each other that we've got to finish this, and we played with heart," said Burns, who scored a team-high 14 points, including 6-of-7 free throws. "Our mindset was that we've got to get this."
Burns is the younger sister of senior Avery Burns, who was Cimarron's leading scorer when she went down with a season-ending torn ACL injury in mid-January.
"She's been so supportive of me, of the entire team, we all look up to her," Ashtynn said of Avery. "But without her, we've had to step up, all of us, and play with the same kind of heart she did. She's the one that always played with guts, and that's the way we need to play."
It was Ashtynn Burns' five free throws in the closing 13 seconds of the first half that sent the Bluejays into the locker room with momentum and a five-point lead, 20-15.
"I think that pumped us up at the time, but we didn't stick with it when we came back out," Ashtynn Burns said.
Ediger was pleased with his team's composure down the stretch when it grabbed key rebounds, made critical free throws and kept Scott City's Jessica Lowenthal from doing any more damage than she had done in the first three quarters. Lowenthal, a 5-11 junior, finished with a game-high 16 points but managed just one field goal in the fourth quarter and three free throws.
"I think the girls just found a way to come up with the big plays and that's the difference," Ediger said. "We had foul problems (Breanna Bryant and Lindsay Wehkamp both fouled out), but the girls who came in did a good job for us."
Scott City started the third quarter with a hot hand shooting, knocking down three 3-pointers, which pushed the Beavers to a 30-26 lead at the 3:20 mark of the third quarter. A Wehkamp follow shot, a trey by Rebecca Dupree and a driving layup by Bryant provided the Bluejays with a 33-30 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.
Lowenthal knotted the score at 33 with a traditional 3-point play at the 7:07 mark, but Scott City could never grab the lead.
"Them hitting free throws, and us not was one of the big keys," Scott City coach Mark Campos said. "We wanted to get out quick and not get behind like we did the last time. We didn't put ourselves in a hole this time. I thought our defense was good, but give Cimarron credit. There's a good reason they're 19-2."
While the Bluejays were struggling to keep hold of the ball in the first half — 14 turnovers in the first half — the Beavers were 5-of-15 shooting from the field, 5-of-10 at the free throw line and were getting outrebounded by the shorter Cimarron players, 16-10.
The Beavers managed a 7-6 lead after one quarter. It wasn't much better in the second quarter for the Bluejays as they committed nine more turnovers. What did save them was some solid shooting and Ashtynn Burns, who scored 10 points in the second quarter to help give the Bluejays a 20-10 lead at the half.
Lowenthal was the lone double-figure scorer for Scott City, but the Beavers did get 10 rebounds from 5-10 sophomore Baily Nickel. Burns was the lone double-figure scorer for the Bluejays while Wehkamp grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to lead them to a 37-26 advantage on the boards.
Scott City 7 8 15 12 -- 42 Cimarron 6 14 13 14 -- 47
Scott City (6-15) — Wilcoxson 0-1 0-0 0, Hoeme 1-6 4-6 6, Rodrigez 0-0 0-0 0, Wycoff 1-4 0-3 3, Nickel 4-10 1-4 9, Baker 3-13 0-3 8, Lowenthal 5-12 6-7 16. Totals 14-46 11-23 42.
Cimarron (19-2) — R. Dupree 2-3 0-0 5, Hoskinson 1-1 2-2 4, Ash. Burns 3-7 6-7 14, Siek 0-2 3-4 3, Waters 0-0 0-0 0, C. Dupree 2-7 0-2 4, Ediger 3-9 1-2 7, Bryant 1-2 0-0 2, Wehkamp 4-6 0-0 8. Totals 16-37 12-17 47.
3-point goals--Scott City 3-10 (Hoeme 0-1, Wycoff 1-2, Baker 2-7), Cimarron 3-10 (R. Dupree 1-2, Ash. Burns 2-6, Siek 0-1, Ediger 0-1). Rebounds--Scott City 26 (Nickel 10), Scott City 37 (Wehkamp 12). Turnovers--Scott City 18, Cimarron 28. Fouls--Scott City 19, Cimarron 17. Fouled out--Cimarron (Bryant, Wehkamp).