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Lady Indians Defeat Dighton

The Lady Indians defeated the Dighton Lady Hornets in high school basketball on Friday, January 12, in St. Francis. It was the first victory in varsity action over the Lady Hornets since 1979. The Lady Indians had previously lost eight straight contests to the Lady Hornets including a couple of early Sub-State contests and all the NWKL games played since Dighton became a member of the NWKL. The Lady Indians routed the Lady Hornets 32-8 in a two-quarter junior varsity contest and then added a 43-31 win in the varsity game to complete the sweep.

The junior varsity team played a very clean game only having three turnovers in the two-quarters of action. Meanwhile, the Lady Hornets committed numerous turnovers resulting in easy baskets and extra attempts for the Lady Indians. Emma Johnson scored the first basket of the contest from the mid-post. Jylian Laten added a steal-two moments later. Dighton got on the scoreboard with a driving basket by Melanie Whipple (So.). Karly Bandel's top-of-the-key trey triggered a Dighton time-out at 4:23 with the Lady Indians leading 7-2. As the Lady Hornet's turnovers continued to mount, the point margin also increased. After a right-wing basket by McKenzie Whipple (Fr.), Johnson responded with a trey from the left corner. Laten then added a turnover-two moving the score to 12-4. After a St. Francis time-out at 2:47, Lauren Johnson scored back-to-back treys from the top of the circle (assist Emma Johnson). The scores caused Dighton to spend another time-out at 1:13. Laten scored the final basket of the period from the left-wing. The shot gave St. Francis a 20-4 lead after one period of play.

Lauren Johnson opened the final period with a left-wing trey. Melanie Whipple answered from the free-throw area. Fast-break baskets by Taighe Weeter and Hannah Zimbal (assist Emma Johnson) gave the Lady Indians a 21-point advantage early in the final period. McKenzie Whipple's right-wing score was answered by a trey by Alondra Gomez from the right-wing on the opposite end of the floor. Zimbal's post-move accounted for the final points in the contest. St. Francis had controlled the action from the outset winning 32-8.

Scoring for St. Francis in the junior varsity game were Lauren Johnson 9, Jylian Laten 6, Emma Johnson 5, Hannah Zimbal 4, Alondra Gomez 3, Karly Bandel 3, and Taighe Weeter 2.

In varsity action, the Lady Indians opened the contest with an offensive rebound basket by Lauren Johnson. Dighton's strong post player, sophomore Ella Roberts, followed with a trey from the top-of-the-key giving Dighton the first of two short-lived leads they would hold in the contest. An assist by Hanna Bracelin leading to a post-basket by Reagan Beims quickly returned the lead back to St. Francis. A top-of-the-key trey by Johnson, and another from the right-wing by Bracelin (assist Karly Bandel), caused Dighton to use a time-out at 1:27. Neither team scored again in the first period. St. Francis led at the break 10-3.

Dighton's Kenadee O'Brien (Jr.) scored the opening basket of the second period. At 5:49, St. Francis called time-out to discuss strategy having gone nearly four minutes without scoring. After returning to the floor, Emma Johnson added consecutive free-throws. Roberts answered with back-to-back post baskets trimming the advantage to 12-10. Hanna Bracelin soon added an stick-back basket and Taighe Weeter a free-throw. Dighton junior Marissa Villarreal then swished a right-wing trey; again reducing the advantage to two (15-13). With 2:39 left in the 2nd period, Reagan Beims drew a charging foul on Roberts. The foul was Roberts' second, and she was substituted from the game. It appeared to be a momentum shift in favor of the Lady Indians, but Dighton soon added a shot from the right-elbow by Mallory Dowell (Sr.) and a post-basket by Martitza Chavarria (Sr.) to take a 15-17 lead. With 20 seconds left in the first half, Weeter scored on an assist from Beims tying the game. A steal-two by Weeter on the next Dighton possession gave the Lady Indians a slim 19-17 lead at halftime.

St. Francis earned the first two baskets of the third period. Reagan Beims' assist led to a free-throw circle jumper by Lauren Johnson. Taighe Weeter's assist led to a left-wing bucket by Hanna Bracelin. Dighton responded with a free-throw by Roberts and a post-basket by Chavarria (23-20). The Lady Hornets would not score again in the period. St. Francis earned two free-throws by Lindsey Johnson and a post-basket by Beims (assist Emma Johnson) to take a 27-20 lead. Shortly thereafter, Dighton junior Gentry Shapland was injured and did not return to the contest. With 1:17 left in the third period, St. Francis called time-out. In the closing moments, Weeter was fouled on a drive and converted both free-throws. St. Francis led 29-20 at the third-quarter break.

Lauren Johnson scored from the free-throw circle on the opening possession of the final period. The basket gave St. Francis their first double-digit lead of the game (31-20). At 5:10, Roberts scored for Dighton, but Johnson added a right-wing trey on the next Lady Indian possession (34-22). Utilizing the strength of Roberts, Dighton followed with back-to-back scores by Roberts in the lane. St. Francis then went to a delay-game attempting to preserve their advantage. Dighton called time-out with 3:27 remaining trailing 34-26. Two more time-outs followed before either team scored again; St. Francis at 3:00 and Dighton at 2:55 after gaining possession of the basketball during a scramble. The Lady Indians used deliberate offense to "milk the clock" for the remainder of the contest. Johnson added a basket on a cut to the hoop after receiving an assist from Karly Bandel. Roberts answered in the post (plus one) at 2:09 (36-29). Reagan Beims added a post-basket after an assist by Hanna Bracelin. Trailing and needing to control the clock for offense, Dighton resorted to fouling. St. Francis made 5 of 7 free-throws (Bracelin 3 of 4; Bandel 2 of 3) in the closing 1:34 to preserve the win. Although Roberts added shot from the free-throw area in the final minute also, the Lady Indians had played well in winning 43-31.

St. Francis was led in scoring by Lauren Johnson with 12 points. Hanna Bracelin added 10 and Taighe Weeter 9. Others scoring for St. Francis included Reagan Beims 6, Lindsey Johnson 2, Emma Johnson 2, and Karly Bandel 2. The Lady Indians made 12 of 15 free-throws and only committed 10 fouls.

Dighton was led by sophomore Ella Roberts with 19 points (11 in the 4th period). The Lady Hornets made 2 of 4 from the stripe and were whistled for 16 fouls.

The Lady Indians will play Greeley County in the opening round of the Northwest Kansas League Basketball Tournament in Quinter at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16.

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St. Francis 100 College Street St. Francis, KS  67756

Superintendent's Office: 785-332-8182 High School Office: 785-332-8153 Elementary Office: 785-332-8143

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