As easy as Monday’s first round sub-state game was for the Beavers, that’s how tough it was Thursday.
The result was the same, though, as Scott City advanced to its fourth straight sub-state title game with a hard-fought 50-41 win over Larned at Southwestern Heights.
In Monday’s game, the Beavers led 36-1 at halftime on their way to a 59-24 win.
Thursday was a different story, however.
This time, the Beavers got off to a slower start, trailing 8-6 at 3:25 in the first quarter. But their offense got in gear as the defense stepped up.
Scott City went on a 16-2 run over the next 7 minutes to take a 22-10 lead midway into the second period.
With 2:35 to play in the half, though, the Indians caught fire, scoring eight straight points to close to within 26-19, before Emily Weathers ended that with a late field goal, giving the Beavers a 28-19 halftime lead.
After taking a 33-21 lead just 2 minutes into the third quarter, Scott City’s scoring hit the brakes for a while as the Indians chipped away, cutting the lead to just 39-35 entering the final period.
Weathers hit the first shot of the fourth to put Scott City up by six. Two minutes later, Brooke McCormick upped that to 43-35 at 6:18, a significant time because the Beavers wouldn’t score again until the 2:31 mark on a pair of McCormick free throws.
By then, Larned had cut the lead to three, taking advantage of five turnovers on six possessions by the Beavers.
Following McCormick’s free throws, the Beavers turned it over three straight times, but the freshman hit another pair of free throws with 37 seconds to play, and Madison Shapland hit another 12 seconds later.
The Beavers’ defense also stepped up, holding the Indians to just one free throw in the final 3 minutes to get the win.
Weathers led Scott City with 16 points. Lyndi Rumford had 14 and McCormick 12.
The Beavers were 20 of 43 from the field and just 8 of 16 from the line while committing 19 turnovers, but they advance, and that’s the main thing for coach Sarah McCormick.
“We definitely didn’t shoot very well from the free-throw line and we didn’t rebound very well, especially in crucial parts of the game,” she said. “But sometimes you find a way, and we found a way when we needed to, and that’s all that matters.”
The slow start followed by the big run showed her team’s good defense when they needed it, McCormick said.
“We kind of got hurried on offense (early). It was kind of one pass and shoot it, and after a while we got a little cold, so we can’t settle for that kind of shot and just work the ball a little more,” she said.
That strategy worked, got her team settled into a groove to take the big lead at the right time.
Larned’s man defense stepped up to rattle the Beavers in the second half.”
“They were pretty physical and I felt we were not making the easy pass. We were trying to make the difficult pass and at the end of the game there’s no reason to do that,” McCormick said.
Saturday’s finals is set for 6 p.m., but officials may move up that time depending on another weather system moving in. That determination will be made sometime Friday.