LAKIN — The Hugoton girls basketball team picked up where it left off Friday — a tough win at Scott City — by knocking off Lakin 66-37in the Eagles’ penultimate game of the regular season.
The win guaranteed the Eagles the top seed at the Holcomb sub-state next Thursday, when they will face fourth-seed Larned.
Senior Brooklynn Harper made the game count, scoring 34 points, a single-game scoring record. It broke Katy Heger’s record of 32, which she scored five years ago in her freshman season — also on Lakin’s court.
Harper awoke from a quiet first quarter (four points on a field goal and two free throws) and erupted for 17 of her team’s 19 second-quarter points.
The 5-foot-6 senior finished with 12 field goals (a pair of 3-pointers) and 8 of 10 from the line. She also had 11 rebounds, two fewer than Jordyn Beard’s team-high 13.
The Eagles out-rebounded Lakin 40-33.
Hugoton led a low-scoring opening period 4-1 before ending on a 10-5 run to lead 14-6. Then Harper went on a personal 15-point run over six minutes, during which time Lakin strung together a nine-point run over five straight possessions.
That closed the Eagle lead to 26-15, but Hugoton pulled away for a 33-18 halftime lead.
A tight opening few minutes of the third found the Broncs down 39-26, before the Eagles outscored the home team 10-4 to close the quarter. They outscored the Broncs 17-7 in the final to get the running-clock victory.
Hugoton improved to 12-7 for the season, with a final regular season matchup at home Friday against Holcomb.
Lakin falls to 4-16 heading into the Class 3A sub-state next week. The Broncs got 13 points from freshman Jaya Esquibel, which included four 3-pointers.
For Hugoton’s new coach, Emmanuel Adigun, it was about all he could ask of his seniors to put together a complete a game as this, following the win at Scott City after losing to Ulysses last Tuesday, scoring just 29 points in that loss.
The loss to Ulysses was "one of those moments where our season could have gone either way,” Adigun said.
They held a serious team meeting followed by a “really intense practice,” he said.
“I challenged my seniors to be better players, and I challenged my role players to be better role players,” Adigun said. “For the last week, they’ve played with incredible passion.”
Rebound and go. Catch and go to the basket. It was with renewed energy that his Eagles played this game.
Adigun knew Lakin was going to be physical and aggressive.
“I thought if we could withstand that, the game would go the direction we wanted it to go,” he said.
Harper’s performance also helped, he said.
“I’m so proud of that kid,” Adigun said. “She’s had some early shooting struggles.”
But Harper came in on the weekends and stayed late after practice and it paid off.
“Tonight was that opportunity — I was so proud for her for the work she’s put in,” Adigun said.