HUTCHINSON — The game had everything one would expect out of a No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup at the Class 3A state tournament.
There was a fired-up crowd, several big shots, big runs and even some heated jump ball tie-ups in the paint.
The only bad thing was someone had to lose.
Thursday night just wasn’t the night for the Scott City girls’ basketball team.
Clawing their way back from double digits twice, the Beavers saw their season end with a 60-50 loss at the hands of Haven, ending Scott City’s season at 19-5.
“We clawed back in, but it took so much energy,” said Scott City coach Sarah McCormick, whose team was at state for the second year in a row and just the second time in school history. “We just didn’t have anything at the end.”
Especially considering the fact the Beavers had to find a way to get back in it several times. They just couldn’t find a way to get back over the hump and gain an advantage.
Led by hot-shooting senior Emmily Hendrixson, the Wildcats got out to a 5-0 lead and eventually led 10-3. That was the first big advantage for Haven, which advanced to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal against Garden Plain.
The second came early in the third quarter. The Beavers had cut the lead to three by the 3:52 mark of the second, but by the start of the third quarter, the Wildcats led 35-22.
And just like they had done earlier in the game, Scott City battled back.
“I was proud of their effort,” McCormick said of her club. “Just didn’t get a couple calls going our way.”
After trailing by 12, Scott City saw the deficit shrink to three when the Beavers’ Emily Smith scored underneath and got fouled. She missed the free throw but it was 42-39 with 1:31 left.
Unfortunately for Scott City, that was as close as it got.
Hendrixson buried another 3 to stretch the lead back to seven as the third quarter ended.
“She’s special every night. She finds ways to help us win,” Haven coach Dwighty Roper said of his senior guard, who finished with a game-high 24 points, 13 rebounds, a steal and an assist. “She does a lot for us and has for four years.”
Scott City didn’t just lay down, though — and Roper didn’t expect it too.
The closest the Beavers could get, though, was 52-48 after sophomore Emily Weathers came out of a timeout with a short jumper.
Haven hit enough free throws down the stretch, while Scott City lost some weapons when Smith and senior Macie Price saw their seasons come to a close with five fouls late in the quarter.
“Just didn’t have it tonight,” McCormick said.
Smith, Weathers and Price each finished with 11 points.
Following the contest, McCormick kept Scott CIty in the locker room for a bit longer than normal, describing it as somewhat emotional. The group of seniors took Scott City last year to its first state tournament in school history, where they earned a trophy in Class 4A Division II.
Now, McCormick said, the groundwork is there with back-to-back trips.
“Everybody expects it, and it’s because of them,” the coach said. “Before, we were not good. That’s going to be a huge hole for us to fill next year.”