Lakin’s shot at returning to the state tournament fell short Saturday, as the Broncs fell to Ness City 66-58.

Lakin had defeated the top seed Pratt Skyline with relative ease on Thursday at the Class 2A sub-state at Southwestern Heights, but they found the Eagles a tougher opponent.

Ness City led just 10-9 after the first break and extended that to 28-21 at halftime. The Eagles held a 23-13 lead early in the second before Lakin made the score close.

Henry Chou tied the game at 34 with a layup at the 3:38 mark of the third and Dominick Daniels gave the Broncs their first lead of the game (39-38) with a trey a half minute later but they still trailed 45-44 heading into the final period.

The Broncs got within a point of the lead at 56-55 but the Eagles answered with eight straight points to pull away.

Chou scored 13 of his team’s 14 final-quarter points, but Andres Rios scored 14 of his team’s 21 in response to give Ness City the win.

Rios finished with 22 points while John Pfannenstiel added 13.

The Eagles were 14-of-19 from the free throw line, while the Broncs were just 4-of-5.

Chou led his team with 36 points while Daniels added 12, all on 3-pointers.

Lakin finished the season 14-9. They had hoped to return to state for the first time since 2002, when they went undefeated to with the Class 3A title.

Ness City (19-4) will move on the Hays next week in the state tournament