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Hodgeman Co. girls keep Sublette at arm's length

Published 2/27/2013

Elkhart, Meade, Stanton Co. also advance in 2A sub-state.

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

SUBLETTE — It wasn't quite the ending to the season that Sublette girls basketball coach Monty Marlin had envisioned.

He didn't expect to see his youthful Lady Larks struggle mightily early, rally in the second half, but still come up on the short end of a 49-37 decision to Hodgeman County in the first round of the weather-delayed Class 2A sub-state tournament on Tuesday night in Sublette.

Down 10-2 after one quarter and 24-10 at halftime, Marlin challenged his young team to dig deep and find a way to get back in the game.

"Every now and then, we've been offensively challenged, and tonight was one of those in the first half," Marlin said. "We had enough open looks that if a good percentage of those had gone down, we'd been in the game."

By the end of the third period, the Lady Larks had pulled within nine points, 31-22.

"We had too many turnovers that gave them a lot of easy run-outs," Marlin said of the Lady Longhorns. "They're very athletic, they're bigger than us and the physical teams have given us problems all year long."

Twice, the Lady Larks were able to trim the deficit to seven, the final time at 43-36.

The problem for the Larks' defense was finding an answer to Brianna Bradshaw, who finished with a game-high 22 points for Hodgeman County. Bradshaw also drew the assignment for much of the night guarding Sublette's standout senior Riley Matteson, and held her in check to 11 points.

"Most of the season, other teams have put a guard on her, but tonight they put someone on her who was taller and athletic," Marlin said. "We had trouble getting the ball to her for much of the night."

Freshman Brooke Briggs, who had gone scoreless in the first half, came back with a strong performance in the second, finishing with 16 points.

Shania Fitzpatrick added 11 points for Hodgeman County, which advances to Friday's semifinal against Meade. That game will be in Elkhart.

In other girls first round games, Elkhart's top-seeded Lady Wildcats easily dispatched Syracuse, 60-29, and Meade struggled but eventually downed Wichita County 55-45. In the night's final girls contest, it was Stanton County coming away with a 55-36 victory over South Gray.

Meade had more trouble with Wichita County than what most might have expected.

Meade led at the quarter stops by scores of 18-11, 29-23 and 42-35, but could not quite put the Lady Indians away until late. Only after a 10-2 run in the early portion of the fourth that provided a 52-37 advantage did Meade finally get the game in hand.

Tarah Wiens scored 20 points for the No. 2-seeded Lady Buffs. Bailey Olvera added 11. For Wichita County, Katie Bailey led the way with 15 points. Nicole Huber and Tailar Bremer added 12 points each.

The Elkhart-Syracuse girls game pitted the No. 1 vs. No. 8 Lady Bulldogs, and after a close first quarter, Elkhart began pulling away.

By halftime, the Lady Wildcats were in control 30-14, and by the end of the third period, it was 48-21.

Elkhart (15-5) had a balanced attack with Miranda Brewer leading the way with 13 points. Victoria Fullerton and Dannah White added 11 and 10 points, respectively. For Syracuse (2-17), Delaney Pollart led the way with 10 points.

In the final game of the night, Stanton County opened with an 11-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, extended it to 23-11 at halftime and cruised to a 43-22 advantage after three quarters.

Lindsey Erskin popped in 16 points for the Lady Trojans (8-12), and Jenna Black added 14. For South Gray (6-14), Whitney Wright had a game-high 17 points.

In Friday's semifinal matchups, it will be Elkhart facing Stanton County and Meade taking on Hodgeman County. Those two semifinal winners will meet in Saturday's championship game at 6 p.m., for a berth in the Class 2A state tournament, which begins next March 6 in Manhattan.

Class 2A girls boxscores are in today's Scoreboard.

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