MANHATTAN – Taylor Rolfs was Central Plains High School’s second option after standout Reagan Phelan was defended.
Rolfs converted a 15-foot jumper with 1.4 seconds left that delivered a last-second 47-45 victory over Winchester-Jefferson County North in Saturday’s Class 2A state basketball championship.
Janae Ryan saw Rolfs open after she first looked for Phelan, who was doubled teamed. The Oilers earned their final possession after Cassidy Crites gathered up a loose ball with 1:06 left after teammate Kylee Kasselman popped the ball away from Jamie Navinskey.
Rolfs last made a game-winner in third-grade MAYB basketball.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to shoot it because no one is open,” Rolfs said. “I better make it.’ ”
The victory was not assured until a half-court heave by Jefferson North’s Jacee Kramer hit the rim and bounced away.
“The girls were celebrating at the last timeout, but that was almost an ESPN Sports Center highlight,” said Central Plains coach Pat Stiles. “I feel fortunate to coach these girls.”
Stiles said Ryan read the play perfectly, where Rolfs sets a pick for Phelan. But two players chased Phelan, leaving Rolfs wide open from the free throw line.
Phelan led the Oilers with 17 points and five steals. Janae Ryan was the Oilers’ sparkplug with 15 points off 5-of-10 3-point shooting. Rolfs added nine points.
Ryan’s fifth 3-pointer gave the Oilers a 42-37 lead. But the Chargers rallied for a 42-42 tie on Jacee Kramer’s 3-point play and two free throws by Heather Polson. Phelan matched a 3-point play by Jamie Navinskey with a field goal and free throw for a 45-45 tie with 2:22 left.
The Oilers kept digging back from deficits in the first three quarters. The Chargers led by eight points in the first quarter (16-8), seven in the second period (26-19) and seven in the third period (35-28).
The Oilers outscored the Chargers 19-16 in the second half as the Chargers shot 22 percent on 4 of 18 field goals.
“We were in trouble, but we gained our composure,” Stiles said. “We fought back. All year we’ve done a good job kicking the ball back out for 3-pointers. We were fortunate to do that tonight. Janae Ryan really picked us up.”
The Oilers converted 8-of-20 3-pointers to outscore the Chargers 24-9 from long range. The Chargers dominated the boards 40-20 and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. The Oilers forced 14 Charger turnovers, none bigger than a late-game steal that set up Rolfs’ game-winner.
“Phelan is a heck of a ballhandler and she gave us trouble,” said Jefferson County coach Steve Noll. “The girls played their hardest. That was a tough one.”
Jenna Kramer led the Chargers with 20 points off 6 of 18 shooting. Jenna Kramer and Heather Polson each scored eight points. The Chargers made 15 of 45 field goals for 33 percent shooting.
“They have some great shooters and we wanted to stay in front on them,” Stiles said. “They’ve got a great bunch of seniors. It was a great championship game between two really good teams.”
Central Plains (26-0) captured the school’s first girls basketball championship with an unbeaten record. It was the first girls basketball championship since Claflin and Quivira Heights merged to form Central Plains High School.
Central Plains coach Pat Stiles served as an assistant coach with Holmes on Claflin’s 2005 and 2006 state basketball champions that featured Stiles’ daughter Roxanne. Claflin lost one game each time the Wildcats won their previous state titles.
The Oilers won the championship without senior leader Breanna Holmes, who left in the first quarter with a knee injury. Holmes hobbled out with her knee taped for her state medal.
The senior-laden Chargers played in four consecutive state championships, beating Olpe, but losing to Wichita Collegiate, Smith Center and Central Plains.
“I give a lot of credit to the girls for making four state championships,’ he said. “Things just didn’t break our way. It just didn’t happen for us.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Class 2A State Tournament
CENTRAL PLAINS 47,
JEFFERSON NORTH 45
JEFFERSON NORTH (25-1)
Jacee Kramer 6-18 6-7 20; Jenna Kramer 3-6 1-2 8; Heather Polson 2-6 4-4 8; Mallory Kramer 2-4 0-1 4; Jamie Navinsky 2-10 1-1 5; Randi Noll 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 15-45 12-14 45.
CENTRAL PLAINS (26-0)
Regan Phelan 6-12 3-5 17; Brenna Holmes 0-0 0-0 0; Kendi Maxwell 1-1 0-0 3; Taylor Rolfs 4-13 1-2 9; Janae Ryan 5-11 0-0 15; Karli Beck 0-1 0-0 0; Beanna Schartz 0-1 0-0 0; Cassidy Crites 1-2 0-0 3; Kylee Kasselman 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 17-41 5-9 47.
Jefferson North 20 9 6 10 – 45
Central Plains 19 9 6 13 – 47
Three-point goals—JN 3-15 (Jacee Kramer 2-10, Janne Kramer 1-3, M. Kramer 0-1, Navinsky 0-1), CP 8-20 (Ryan 5-10, Phelan 2-6, Maxwell 1-1, Beck 0-1, Rolfs 0-2). Rebounds—JN 40 (Jacee Kramer 8), CP 20 (Rolfs 6). Assists—JN 6 (M. Kramer 3), CP 3. Steals—JN 6 (Jenna Kramer 2, Jacee Kramer 2, M. Kramer 2), CP 12 (Phelan 5). Fouls—JN 12, CP 11. Turnovers—JN 13,CP 15.