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Oilers reach 2A state finals
23 kylee kasselman1
Central Plains Oiler Kylee Kasselman (23) shoots against Valley Falls' Paige Wildeman (5) in the Oilers' 53-41 Class 2A semifinal victory. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

Oilers return to 2A state finals



MANHATTAN – Central Plains’ Kylee Kasselman scored 16 points and point guard Emily Ryan finished off Valley Falls 53-41 in the Class 2A state basketball semifinals with a 20-point outing.

The pesky Dragons were within 45-39 after they converted five 3-pointers. But Emily Ryan finished off 10 consecutive points with six free throws for a 51-41 margin. She started the streak with back-to-back driving baskets.

“Emily Ryan played big time at the end,” said Central Plains coach Pat Stiles. “She made big baskets. She’s so unselfish the way she passes. But I told her to be selfish for three minutes.”

The No. 1 ranked Oilers (25-0) own a 102-1 record over the past four years with their loss against Ellinwood. The three-time defending state champions play Alma-Wabaunsee in Saturday’s finals of the 2A state tournament at Manhattan’s Bramlage Coliseum.

Kasselman rescued the Oilers from a rare 0 for 8 shooting on 3-pointers with seven consecutive points for a 33-24 lead after an assist from Emily Ryan. A minute later, Kasselman left the game after injuring her right ankle.

“Kylee Kasselman dominated out there. She’s a Bramlage player,” Stiles said. “She played unbelievable in the championship game her freshman year when Breanna Holmes was hurt.”

Kasselman missed her first field goal, but converted five of six field goals and six of seven free throws. She’s prepared to play Saturday after some treatment.

“I got my nerves out of the way yesterday and came ready to play today,” Kasselman said. “Every team is ready at state. We have a target on our backs. Every team plays their best game against us.”

The Oilers finished 18 of 37 from the field and 17 of 21 free throws. All seven Oilers scored points and grabbed a rebound.

“You talk about the next player up when it’s your chance,” Stiles said. “We had players come in and help us today.”

Regan Kirkwood led Valley Falls (21-4) with 11 points and Allison Kearney added nine points. The Dragons outscored the Oilers 15-0 on 3-pointers.

Valley Falls played a terrific first half and the Dragons were within 20-16 when Mallory Burns and Drew DeLong drilled back-to-back 3-pointers. Kasselman capped a nine-point half with a score and Janae Ryan scored off an assist from Emily Ryan for a 24-16 halftime lead.

“Their defense is good and Valley Falls brought their “A” game,” Stiles said. “They played sharp. We didn’t expect some of their girls to make 3-pointers. Some of some were contested.”

Valley Falls 8 8 12 13  – 41

Central Plains 12 12 17 12 – 53

VALLEY FALLS— Kirkwood 4-8 2-2 11; Kearney 2-7 3-4 9; Frakes 4-5 0-0 8; Wildeman 2-3 1-2 5; DeLong 1-7 2-2 5; Burns 1-4 0-0 3; Totals 14-34 8-10 41.

CENTRAL PLAINS—Emily Ryan 6-11 8-8 20; Kylee Kasselman 5-6 6-7 16; Cassidy Crites 2-4 2-2 6; Avery Hurley 2-3 0-0 4; Janae Ryan 1-9 1-2 3; Chelsey Bieberle 1-2 0-0 2; Julie Donecker 1-2 0-2 2; Totals 18-37 17-21 53.

3-point goals—VF 5-11 (Kearney 2-5, Kirkwood 1-1, DeLong 1-2, Burns 1-2, Wildeman 0-1); CP 0-8 (E. Ryan 0-1, Bieberle 0-1, J. Ryan 0-6). Rebounds—VF 21 (Kearney 5), CP 22 (E. Ryan 5). Assists—VF 8 (Kirkwood 3), CP (E. Ryan 5). Steals—CP 7 (Kasselman 2, E. Ryan 2). TO—VF 15, CP 9.