STERLING — Central Plains girls basketball coach Pat Stiles was concerned how the Lady Oilers would perform after a 13-day layoff.
It was predictable that the Oilers had to knock off some rust before cruising past Medicine Lodge 57-28 Thursday in the Class 2A Sterling substate. The Oilers also missed some practice time because of the recent wintry weather.
Central Plains outscored the Indians 31-11 in the second half behind more effective execution.
Top-seeded Central Plains (19-2) will play Skyline (14-7) in Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinals at Sterling College. The Oilers finished fourth in Class 2A last season after beating Oakley and losing to Olpe and Republic County.
The Oilers started sluggishly on defense, according to Stiles, who managed a 16-10 lead after one period. The Oilers converted 7 of 11 field goals the first period.
Medicine Lodge executed fairly well to start, handling the Oilers’ usually effective fullcourt pressure defense. The Indians converted 3 of 8 field goals the first period.
“I was wondering how we’d start off because we had not played since Feb. 15,” Stiles said. “We missed a few shots we’d normally make. We didn’t finish a few plays.”
Central Plains pressure defense helped the Oilers lead 26-17 at halftime, fueled by a couple of easy baskets off Indian turnovers.
All was well after halftime when Central Plains converted 14 of 28 field goals while outscoring the Indians 31-11. The Oilers scored the first 10 points of the second half for a 36-17 lead.
The Oilers’ effective defense forced 26 Medicine Lodge turnovers, which led to some easy baskets.
“Our biggest difference in the second half was we finished our shots and took advantage on our fast breaks,” Stiles said. “I was really pleased how well that we played that second half.”
Jennifer Hitschmann led the Oilers’ typically balanced offense with 16 points while dominating inside. Katie Hipp scored 10 points and led the Oilers’ unselfish play with several nice assists. Freshmen Taylor Rolfs and Reagan Phelan each added nine points. Janae Hekele chipped in eight points.
“That’s pretty normal for us because someone different will lead in scoring about every night,” Stiles said. “Our offensive balance is a nice advantage.”
Medicine Lodge (3-18) had played better as the season wound down and had its moments. The Indians’ senior tandem of Addie Roe and Cassidy Stimpert combined for 18 points. Roe scored 11 points and Stimpert added seven.
The Indians showed off excellent teamwork and patient passing when they were able to work into their halfcourt offense.
The Indians converted 9 of 40 field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers by Roe and 3-pointers by Sarah Eck and Mallory Shinliver.
“We knew it would be a tough matchup because Central Plains is such a quality team,” said Medicine Lodge coach Lowell Dohrmann. “The girls are battlers. They us great effort tonight.”
Dohrmann said Central Plains’ talent and athleticism was hard to match up against for the shorter Indians.
“They are quick and aggressive and they take advantage of your mistakes if you don’t handle the basketball,” he said. “They are a high quality team.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Class 2A Sub-State Basketball Tournament
Central Plains 57, Medicine Lodge 28
MEDICINE LODGE (3-18)
Cassidy Stimpert 2-5 3-4 7, Addie Roe 3-8 3-6 11, Mallory Shinliver 1-5 0-0 3, Kamri Theis 1-10 0-0 2, Sarah Eck 1-3 0-0 3, Kendra Inslee 0-3 0-0 0, Alex Leis 1-3 0-0 2, Hannah Rankin 0-2 0-2 0. Totals 9-40 6-12 28.
CENTRAL PLAINS (19-2)
Janae Hekele 4-6 0-0 8, Breanna Holmes 0-2 1-2 1, Katie Hipp 4-10 2-2 10, Jennifer Hitschmann 7-17 2-2 16, Taylor Rolfs 4-7 0-0 9, Reagan Phelan 4-7 1-2 9, Kendra Oberle 1-3 0-0 2; Kendi Maxwell 1-2 0-0 2; Sam Stroede 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 6-8 57.
Medicine Lodge 10 7 5 6 — 28
Central Plains 16 10 19 12 — 57
Three-point goals — Medicine Lodge 4 (Roe 2, Eck, Shinliver); Central Plains 1 (Rolfs). Fouls — Central Plains 12, Medicine Lodge 7.
St. John 57, La Crosse 28
ST. JOHN — St. John led 22-3 after eight minutes on its way to a second-round rout in a 1A Division-I sub-state tournament.
Post player Teresa Christie led the No. 3-ranked Lady Tigers (19-2) with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Jamie Waters added 11 points, and Alexis Witt scored 10 for St. John.
Otis-Bison 47, Chase 23
SYLVAN GROVE — Otis-Bison held a 15-9 lead after one quarter, and added to it on its way to a 1A D-II sub-state tournament first-round victory.
Kim Pechanec led the Lady Cougars (5-16) with 14 points. Hannah Bannister added nine.
Pratt-Skyline 51, Ellinwood 44
STERLING — Pratt-Skyline added to its lead piece-by-piece in the first three quarters as Ellinwood couldn’t gain any ground during first-round action of a 2A sub-state tournament.
Sophia Hayes led the Lady Eagles (12-9) with 15 points.
Rachel Doll added nine points, Kelsea Ward finished with eight and Brooke Panning scored seven for Ellinwood.
Otis-Bison 57, Chase 25
SYLVAN GROVE — Leading 22-20 at halftime, the Otis-Bison Cougars stepped up their defense to hold Chase to five second-half points in a 1A D-II sub-state tournament first-round game.
Tyler Maier produced a season-high 24 points for Otis-Bison (7-14).
Dylan Wissman added 12 points for the Cougars.
Stafford 59, Norwich 44
KIOWA — Stafford led throughout the game, holding a 34-20 advantage at halftime, which it turned into a first-round win of a 1A D-II sub-state tournament.
Derek McClure led the Trojans (6-11) with 19 points.
Austin Ceniti added 13 points, and Ethan Johnson scored 11 for Stafford.
— Kevin Price