CHS receives sportsmanship award
Given that a Centre High School girls’ basketball team has not been to a state tournament in 39 years, it is understandable that the Lady Cougars were somewhat intimidated in their matchup Thursday against Hoxie in Emporia.
Not only was it the first appearance in many years, the eighth-seed Lady Cougars were facing top-seed Hoxie, a team that ranked first in the state and went on to win the championship.
The game got off to a 0-6 start as Hoxie drained two consecutive 3-pointers. Centre missed two layups and did not get on the board until 3:15 into the first quarter, when Makenzie Deines made a free throw. After a field goal by Shelby Makovec, Hoxie led, 18-3.
“Hoxie is a very, very good team with incredible depth,” coach Alan Stahlecker said. “Our girls seemed relaxed and ready to play, but we came out very slow and you can’t afford to do that against such a good team.”
Hoxie had piled up seven fouls by early in the second quarter, but Centre was not able to capitalize on three trips to the free-throw line. However, Cacey Simons scored a 3-pointer and a field goal, and Genesis Rudolph added two 3-pointers for 11 points. Hoxie scored 14 points to lead 32-14 at halftime.
The Lady Cougars continued to be plagued by turnovers in the second half, allowing Hoxie to increase their lead. Hoxie outscored Centre, 19 to 10, in the third quarter and held Centre to just 5 points in the final period, resulting in a 42-point loss for the Lady Cougars, 71-29.
Theo Kassebaum, the only senior on the team, played her usual tough, aggressive defense and battled for rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter. It was her final game as a Cougar.
“I was proud of the way our girls played hard all 32 minutes, still competing to the end,” Stahlecker said.
The team shot 20 percent from the field compared with 36 percent by Hoxie. They made 8-of-21 free throws compared with 12-of-21 by Hoxie.
Simons scored 10 points, followed by Rudolph, 7; Makovec, 6; Deines, 3; Beka Basore, 2; and Jasmin Abdel Ghany, 1.
At the end of the tournament, Centre High School received the sportsmanship award.
The Centre girls ended the season at 14-10 overall (including the bye in the substate tournament) and tied with Elyria Christian for third in the Wheat State League — behind Hope and Little River — with a record of 5-3. They won 10 of their last 13 games.