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Sterling eliminates Lady Oilers, 58-54
Class 2A Sub-State championship game
spt JM Central Plains
The Central Plains High School girls' basketball team finished second at a Class 2A sub-state tournament on Saturday night at Sterling. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

STERLING — The Sterling High School girls’ basketball team ended Central Plains’ hopes for back-to-back trips to the Class 2A state girls tournament.
Sterling outscored the Lady Oilers 18-8 for a 58-54 sub-state championship victory on Saturday night that avenged last year’s sub-state loss. The comeback was similar to Sterling’s 66-56 victory over Central Plains in the Hilltop Classic Hoops at Kirkman Activity Center on the Barton Community College campus.
Jennifer Hitschmann led the Lady Oilers with 17 points off 7 of 10 shooting.
Katie Hipp scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for a double-double, and Janae Hekele added 11 points for Central Plains.
The Lady Oilers made 23 of 51 field goals, three more than Sterling.
“That was a battle, just like we expected,” Central Plains head coach Pat Stiles said. “It was a great effort by our girls. Our girls fought awfully hard. That’s one you’d love to come out ahead in.”
There were eight lead changes and seven ties in the game.
Sterling showed off man-to-man, zone and several pressure looks that forced 23 Central Plains turnovers. Stiles said the turnovers were probably the difference in the outcome.
“We had several unforced errors that hurt us,” Stiles said. “It was a back-and-forth type of game. We lost to an awfully good Sterling team.”
Central Plains led 46-40 in the fourth quarter when Hitschmann and Reagan Phelan scored baskets.
But Chelsey Riffel made a 3-point play and scored inside to go with Dani Dowell’s rebound basket for a 47-47 tie. Aubree Nuest’s assist to Dani Dowell led to a 50-47 lead.
Central Plains regained the momentum. Hitschmann scored two free throws and Hipp had back-to-back assists to Hekele for a 3-pointer and a score by Taylor Rolfs for a 54-53 Lady Oilers lead.
Sterling freshman sensation Kylah Comley made the game’s key play with a steal and fast-break layup for a 55-54 lead with 1:05 left. Comley added a free throw for a 56-54 lead.
Hipp attempted a guarded shot in traffic under the goal that didn’t drop on the Lady Oilers’ final attempt to tie. Nuest iced the victory with two free throws with 19 seconds left.
Comley led the Lady Black Bears with 19 points. Riffel and Lydia Lambert each scored nine points.
Sterling knocked down six 3-pointers to outscore the Lady Oilers 18-9 from long range. It outscored the Oilers 12-5 from the free throw line.

Class 2A Sub-State Tournament



At Sterling

Championship game

Sterling 58, Central Plains 54
    Kylah Comley 6-12 5-8 19, Dani Dowell 3-8 0-0 8, Chelsey Riffel 4-8 1-2 9, Andi Dowell 1-7 0-1 3, Aubree Nuest 2-4 3-4 8, Lydia Lambert 4-6 0-0 9, Keena Schweizer 0-1 2-4 2, Emma Lambert 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 12-20 58.
    Jennifer Hitschmann 7-10 3-5 17, Katie Hipp 6-9 1-6 13, Janae Hekele 4-10 0-0 11, Taylor Rolfs 3-9 0-0 6, Reagan Phelan 3-13 0-0 6, Breanna Holmes 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 23-51 5-13 54.
Sterling              15    13    12    18  —  58
Central Plains    18    11    13    12  —  54
    Three-point goals — Sterling 6 (D. Dowell 2, Comley 2, Nuest, L. Lambert); Central Plains (Hekele 2). Fouls — Sterling 18, Central Plains 18.