PRATT -- Defense wins championships. The Larned girls applied that old adage with vigor at the 4A Div 2 Sub-State as they defensed themselves into the State Finals in Emporia with a 40-32 victory over the Haven Wildcats Saturday evening. It's the Indians' first state trip since 1998.
Larned (13-9) plays Meriden-Jefferson West (18-4) at 4:45 p.m. Thursday at Emporia's White Auditorium. In other first round games, it's Girard (21-1) against Topeka Hayden (9-13), Burlington (17-5) against Scott City (13-9) and Clay Center (20-2) against Andale (12-10).
In the strange trivia department, Larned played six games on the Pratt court this year, winning them all. They won this Sub-State tournament in two games, won three games and the championship of the Pratt Tournament of Champions and beat Pratt in a regular season game.
The Indians forced Haven into 21 turnovers, ten in the first quarter as they held the Wildcats to just one field goal on their way to a 6-3 first-quarter lead. They stretched that to a 14-10 halftime advantage.
Larned coach Ashley Crosby said, “We pride ourselves on our man-to-man defense and we were able to take Haven out of their offense for much of this game. They missed some easy shots but our defense had something to do with that.”
Larned held Haven’s leading scorer, Emmiley Hendrixson, to just 8 points, all in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats were cold from long range and the Indians defended well on the inside, holding Haven to 24% shooting for the ball game. The Wildcats were 10 of 16 from the free throw line.
Larned’s senior guard, Kelsey Parr, came out of the halftime break red-hot as she drained two long three-pointers, staking the Indians to a 27-14 third quarter lead, a lead they never relinquished though Haven did pare it to four points on one occasion early in the fourth quarter as they made a run at the Indians.
Crosby stated, “ We got them in a position that they had to foul and, fortunately, we made just enough of them to seal the victory.” Larned made only 15 of 29 from the charity stripe, many of the misses being on the front end of one-and-one attempts but it was enough to hold off the charging Wildcats.
Haven finished their season at 13-9. The Wildcats were led by Hendrixson’s 8 points. Faith Paramore and Genesis Schmutz had 6 apiece for the cold-shooting Wildcats.
The State-bound Indians warmed up in the second half and finished the game shooting 42 percent from the field and they outrebounded Haven. Larned was led in scoring by Parr’s 18 while Bailey Perez added 7 and Haley Skelton 6.
LARNED GIRLS, STATE HISTORY (9-8)
2017—Larned 13-9 vs. Jefferson West 18-4
1998—Santa Fe Trail 57, Larned 46
1997—Labette County 42, Larned 40
1996—Larned 52, Andale 42; Baldwin 52, Larned 50; THIRD PLACE—Larned 59, Topeka Hayden 46
1991—Larned 51, Topeka Hayden 49, OT; Larned Larned 49, Andale 45; CHAMPIONSHIP—Larned 63, Sabetha 58, OT; Coach Greg Cartwright
1990—Larned 56, Chanute 47; Rose Hill 46, Larned 41; THIRD PLACE—Sabetha 45, Larned 43
1989—Larned 62, Paola 43; Larned 47, Goodland 43; CHAMPIONSHIP—KC Ward 75, Larned 74, 2 OT
1988—Larned 61, SE Saline 48; Baldwin 50, Larned 48; THIRD PLACE—Iola 42, Larned 41
CLASS 4A-DIV. 2 GIRLS
Emporia, White Auditorium, Thursday
3 p.m.—Clay Center 20-2 vw. Andale 12-10
4:45 p.m.—Meriden-Jefferson West 18-4 vs. Larned 13-9
6:30 p.m.—Girard 21-1 vs. Topeka Hayden 9-13
8:15 p.m.—Burlington 17-5 vs. Scott City 13-9
CLASS 4A-DIV. 2 BOYS
Emporia, White Auditorium, Wednesday
3 p.m.—Holcomb 21-1 vs. Smoky Valley 15-7
4:45 p.m.— St. George-Rock Creek 17-4 vs. Topeka Hayden 16-6
6:30 p.m.—Wichita Collegiate 21-1 vs. Frontenac 14-8
8:15 p.m.—Pratt 17-5 vs. Burlington 17-5