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Ellinwood CPL A Team Tournament
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The Ellinwood Middle School Girls Basketball team ended their season this past week in the Championship Finals of the A Team Tournament. The Eagles entered the tournament as a #6 seed with a 6-6 regular season record. In the quarterfinal round they met up with the #3 seed Macksville Mustangs (7-4) who had beaten them a week and half earlier in the regular season finale by 3 points at home. The girls played excellent team defense and took advantage of opportunities to compile a couple key scoring runs, including one in the 4th quarter. The Mustangs made one final run, but the Eagles held on to earn a close fought 34-32 victory. Mya Maxwell, 7th grade, was the leading scorer with 24 points, including four 3 pointers. Ashtin Klepper and Haley Troyer, both 7th graders, added 6 and 2 points respectively and Kaitlyn Panning, 8th grade, started the scoring with the initial basket of the game. The win earned the girls a chance to play in the semi-finals against the #2 seed Otis Bison Cougars (10-2) who had also beaten the Eagles at home early in the early by 7. The semi-final matchup was to take place on Monday Feb. 1, but due to weather concerns the game was moved to Thursday Feb. 4. The Eagles benefited from the additional time to prepare for a daunting task in overcoming the Cougar’s size and experience. The Eagles used their strength, speed and aggressiveness to battle with the Cougars for 3 quarters, entering the 4th quarter tied at 17. Some key defensive pressure by 7th graders Jozlyn Brown, Emily Frakes and Daphne Doll in addition to a great rebounding performance from 8th graders Kennedy Harrington and Kaitlyn Panning gave the Eagles the advantage late in the game. The final quarter was dominated by the Eagles, including some big shots hit by Ashtin Klepper and Haley Troyer as well as a crucial 3 point basket by Mya Maxwell to give the Eagles a 4 point lead with a minute remaining. The Eagles were able to run out the clock with the aid of some key free throws from Maxwell and hold on to defeat the Cougars 28-23. Maxwell led the scoring with 16 points, Troyer 6, Klepper 2, Panning 2 and Anahi Mendez added 2 as well. The Eagles advanced to the championship game to face an extremely impressive Central Plains team who was unbeaten and had dominated their competition all season. The Eagles were defeated in the finals 20-50, but were extremely gracious and proud of their CPL A Team Runner-Up title and silver medals. Head Coach Greg Maxwell said “We could not be more proud of this team’s accomplishments throughout the season, especially in the A team tournament given we only have two 8th graders competing. They worked extremely hard all year to earn this opportunity.” The A team ends their season with an overall 8-7 record.