HOLCOMB — The Hugoton girls found the road to Saturday’s sub-state final a little rocky — then easy, then really rocky.
But get there they did with a 47-36 win over Larned at the Holcomb tournament in Class 4A-II.
After a slow start by Eagles standards (an 8-5 lead after the opening quarter), they held a 24-15 halftime lead that they increased to 31-15 halfway into the third period.
But the unthinkable happened after Hugoton scored seven straight points to open that advantage.
They stopped scoring and Larned went on a wild run, a 17-1 run, to be exact to close out the third quarter to knot the score at 32.
The Indians scored on six straight possessions from four different players before the Eagles picked up a lone free throw, and then Larned tied the game on a field goal at the end of the period.
And that’s when Hugoton showed why they were this sub-state’s top-seeded team, shutting down that sparked-up Larned offense by holding them to just four points in the final frame.
JoHanna Rawlins and Brooklynn Harper scored 11 points on five field goals and Laney Hoskinson and Rebecca Johnson both went 2 for 2 at the line to account for Hugoton’s 15 fourth-quarter points while Larned went 2 for 11 from the field.
Harper finished with 20 points and Rawlins 12 to lead Hugoton. Baylea Perez had 13 to lead the Indians.
Not the prettiest of games, but still a win, said Hugoton coach Emmanuel Adigun.
“First off, I want to give a lot of credit to Larned,” he said. “They were fantastic and played a helluva basketball game tonight.”
His girls, for the most part, weren’t the team he’s seen most of the season in his first year at the helm, he said.
“We were poor defensively, I thought we were undisciplined, and I thought we gave away too many easy baskets trying to go get home run steals,” Adigun said.
Offensively, things were a bit better.
“We were able to turn them over and get some steals to get some easy baskets,” Adigun said. “But they (Larned) just made it difficult for us all night.”
At no time was that more apparent than in the third quarter, but the fourth was a redemption period.
As they head into Saturday’s final, Adigun said his team has to get back to the basics of what got the team to 14-7, on-court leadership
“They have to do a better job of leading by example, playing with a certain level of passion, and the younger kids will follow that passion,” he said.
Hugoton will face the other semifinal winner Pratt, the team Adigun left last season to coach Hugoton. The girls title game will begin at 6 p.m.