By KEVIN THOMPSON
LAKIN — The Hugoton girls looked like a team with a purpose Friday night.
The Lady Eagles controlled the game from start to finish as they defeated host Lakin, 67-38, to finish the regular season and head into sub-state play with a mission in mind.
Hugoton erupted for 37 first-half points for a 20-point lead as they cruised to a win that coach Andy Gillen said was a huge answer to an important question.
After falling to Holcomb on Tuesday night in a game he said his girls did not bring the intensity they needed to, Gillen was impressed with how his young team responded.
"After a game like Tuesday, you want your kids to bounce back and show some character," he said. "Being 17-3, going into sub-state and finishing the regular season with a game like this, we're excited to get things going next week."
Freshman Katy Heger had a huge night for the Eagles, scoring 32 points on 15 field goals, including a pair of 3s.
Fellow freshman Melissa Fabela added 13.
Hugoton finished with nine treys for the night, six of those in the first half.
"They answered the challenges that we gave them in practice and came out with much more energy and much more intensity right from the beginning," Gillen said of his squad. "We set the tone right away."
All season the Eagles have lived off their defense and the aggression it creates, which transfers into their offense.
"They answered all my questions I've had the last couple days of practice," Gillen said.
Lakin coach Shawn Michaelis commended the Hugoton effort.
"They definitely came out running and played hard. They definitely wanted it more than we did tonight," he said.
From the loss, he said, he hopes it opens his team's eyes as to what it will take to face last year's state runner-up Garden Plain (15-5) on Tuesday night.
"It's going to be more physical this time of the year, and we have to be able to answer that," he said. "Tonight we backed away. We're going to have to fight that Tuesday."
Heading into sub-state in Colby, the Eagles can use this game as a reminder of what four full quarters of intensity can bring, Gillen said.
"Our goal all year long has been to get to Wichita (for the state tournament), so we'll have to come ready to play," Gillen said.
Hugoton faces Scott City on Thursday, a team that upset Goodland on Tuesday. Gillen knows his girls will have to stay focused to get to the title game, despite Scott City having only three wins.
"I think if we play with the energy we did tonight, we should be fine," he said.
Hugoton 17 20 15 15 -- 67
Lakin 8 9 12 9 -- 38
Hugoton (17-3)--Armendariz 2 2-2 6, Fabela 4 2-3 13, Scott 1 3-4 6, Pena 0 1-2 1, Heger 15 0-1 32, Cornelson 2 0-0 6, Sosa 1 0-0 3. Totals 25 8-12 67.
Lakin (11-10)--Watkins 5 1-4 13, Ritsema 2 1-2 5, Calderon 2 1-1 5, Davidson 2 1-5 7, Hernandez 2 0-0 4, Reed 1 0-1 2, Dale 0 2-4 2. Totals 14 6-17 38.
3-point field goals--Hugoton 9 (Fabela 3, Scott 1, Heger 2, Cornelson 2, Sosa 1), Lakin 4 (Watkins 2, Davidson 2). Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Hugoton 18, Lakin 9. Technical fouls--none.