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Central Plains reaches finals with win over Meade
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MANHATTAN – Defending Class 2A girls state basketball champion Central Plains got a rematch with Moundridge.
Central Plains girls basketball coach Pat Stiles is accustomed to seeing point guard Raegan Phelan in foul trouble.
When Phelan went sprinting upcourt for a steal with three fouls, Stiles liked the play.
“I never want to take that aggressiveness away from Reagan,” Stiles said.
Phelan was everywhere in the Oilers’ hard-fought 64-51 Class 2A semifinal victory over Meade. She contributed 24 points, dished out five assists and had six steals.
Her signature play came when her fourth-quarter drive was stopped. Phelan recovered to sprint the court and steal the basketball.
“I want to do whatever it takes for my team to be successful,” Phelan said. “Every once in a while, coach will give me a look when I get in foul trouble.”
Defending Class 2A state champion Central Plains (24-1) will play Moundridge (23-2) in Saturday’s state championship. The Oilers rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Moundridge 61-59 in the Barton County Hilltop Classic on Phelan’s game-winner.
Phelan ignited the Oilers’ fourth quarter with 15 points and converted nine free throws from their spread offense. The Oilers outscored Meade 26-13 in the fourth period after a 38-38 tie.
“Reagan is such a good ballhandler, I have total confidence in her,” Stiles said. “She gets to the free throw line and gives the ball up when she needs to.”
Meade’s Jaylin Stapleton nailed a trio of 3-pointers and Beth Lewis converted a 3-pointer to rally the Buffaloes from a 36-24 deficit for a 38-38 tie with a 14-2 scoring run.
“Meade had a couple shooters in Stapelton and Olvera who were really good,” Stiles said. “We’d get up, then they would make a run. They played aggressive and played well.”
Oiler Kylee Kasselman scored to start the third quarter and Taylor Rolfs followed with a 3-pointer for a 43-38 lead.
Phelan scored seven straight points for a 50-43 lead when she fed an assist to Kendi Maxwell, whose 3-pointer bounced high off and rim and into the basket for a 53-43 lead. Maxwell celebrated with a fist pump.
Meade (20-4) was led by Stapelton with 17 points and Bailey Olvera added 14 points. The Buffaloes converted 9 of 23 3-pointers to outscore the Oilers 27-15 from long range. Meade lost to Central Plains in last year’s Class 2A semifinals 60-45.
“This year’s semifinal was played as much higher level,” Stiles said. “Both teams have players who are better and stronger than they were last year.”
Meade led 7-0 before the Oilers got rolling for a 31-19 lead. But Meade hustled back into the ballgame with a strong finish to get within 31-24 at halftime.

Class 2A semifinal
Meade 14 10  14 13 — 51
Central Plains 13 18 7 26 — 64
Meade—Bailey Olvera 3-14 5-5 11; Beth Lewis 2-7 0-0 6; Lexus Luetters 1-4 0-0 3; Jaylin Stapleton 5-11 3-4 17; Natalie Thompson 3-7 0-0 8; Tarah Wiens 2-7 0-1 4; Nicole Friesen 1-2 0-0 2; Totals 17-52 8-10 51.
Central Plains—Reagan Phelan 6-12 12-17 24; Breanna Schartz 0-3 0-2 0; Cassidy Crites 3-4 4-8 10; Taylor Rolfs 6-17 2-2 17; Janae Ryan 2-8 1-2 6; Kendi Maxwell 1-2 0-0 3; Kylee Kasselman 2-3 0-0 4; Abby Stueder 0-0 0-0 0; Kaycee Steiner 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 20-49 19-31 64.
3-point goals—Meade 9-23 (Luetters 1-4, Stapelton 4-8, Thompson 2-2, Olvera 0-5, Lewis 1-4), CP 5-18 (Rolfs 3-7, Ryan 1-6, Maxwell 1-2, Phelan 0-3). Rebounds—Meade 37 (Olvera 9), CP 30 (Crites 9). Assists—Meade 9 (Olvera 4), CP 8 (Phelan 5). Steals—Meade 5 (Thompson 2, Stapleton 2), CP 11 (Phelan 6). TO—Meade 17, CP 6.

Ashley Holler scored 25 points as No. 2 seeded Moundridge earned a rematch with defending state champion Central Plains.
The Oilers know all about Holler, who nailed six 3-pointers and scored 21 points against the Central Plains Oilers.
“That was a heartbreaker, but that game showed the girls that they were capable of,” said Moundridge coach Vicky Kessler. “That was a turning point for us.”
Holler had the finishing touch with a go-ahead 3-pointer for a 44-41 lead and 14 points in the fourth quarter.