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Lady Indians Move to Championship Contest

The Lady Indians defeated a scrappy Wallace County team 44-32 in the semi-final contest of the Sagebrush Classic Tournament in Brewster on Friday, December 13. Both teams worked especially hard defensively in the contest and the game was aggressively played. Though the game was interrupted by numerous turnovers and fouls, there was never a lack of effort by either team.

The greatest point margin in the contest was 14 points late in the game by the Lady Indians. Wallace County only led once. The Lady Wildcats scored the first point of the contest when Lakin Perry (5' 6" Sr.) made one-of-two from the line. Karly Bandel drained a trey on an assist by Jordan Faulkender for the first Lady Indians score. The two scores were the only points scored in the first three minutes of the game. Wallace County used a time-out early in the game, and Bandel drained her second trey of the contest moments later. Wallace County (WC) added two late quarter scores receiving a free-throw from Haylee Hennick (5' 11" Sr.) and a stick-back basket from Maddie Pierce (5' 7" So.). The Lady Indians led 6-4 at the close of the first quarter.

Ball pressure was the priority in the contest as both teams played aggressive pressuring defenses. The defensive pressure made it difficult for both teams and the turnovers mounted. WC had 22 turnovers in the first half; St. Francis had 13. An out-of-bounds play basket on an assist from Karly Bandel to Hannah Zimbal increased the lead to 8-4. Haylee Hennick soon answered with a basket from the block. Bandel then scored from the baseline. A free-throw by Lakin Perry preceded the next SF score; a trey by Alondra Gomez. With 5:09 left in the second period, St. Francis used their first time-out. After returning to action, Ellee Krien's assist led to a fast-break basket by McKenna Poling. The Lady Indians now led 15-7; Perry followed with a basket in the lane for WC; and at 4:18, the Lady Wildcats used another time-out. St. Francis would added the next four points; a free-throw by Poling and a right-wing trey by Mia Morrow. After a free-throw by WC's Brookley Dinkel (5" 6: So.), Rian Zimbal made one-of-two from the line for the Lady Indians. St. Francis led 20-10 at the halftime break.

The pressuring defenses continued in the second half, but the turnovers lessened (WC had 11 and SF 12 in the 2nd half). Early in the third period, Jordan Faulkender picked up her 4th foul. Lakin Perry sank one-of-the-two free-throws. Alonda Gomez added consecutive charity tosses, but they were soon answered by a strong post move by Haylee Hennick. Perry's left baseline jumper narrowed the margin to 22-15. With 2:49 left in the third, a technical on the St. Francis bench halted the action. Perry sank both free-throws for the Lady Cats, and St. Francis used their 2nd time-out leading 22-17. Emma Johnson added a driving basket after the time-out, but Perry scored on a break moments later. With 1:36 left in the period, St. Francis used their 3rd time-out. Rian Zimbal followed with a much-needed basket in the lane. After a free-throw by Jessie Carmen (5' 6" Jr.), Karly Bandel swished another trey extending the Lady Indian lead to 29-21. Carmen's next trip to the stripe resulted in two more WC points. Hennick's score in the lane reduced the advantage to 29-25. The final point in the quarter came on a free-throw by Gomez. St. Francis led 30-25 at the third period horn. 

St. Francis opened the final period with a 4-point run receiving free-throws from Alondra Gomez and Karly Bandel as well as a transition bucket by Hannah Zimbal (assist Bandel). Jessie Carnmen then scored from the left-wing for the Lady Wildcats. The game was about to become a free-throw contest and total of 18 free-throws would be shot in the period. Additional free-throws by Gomez and Lakin Perry moved the scoreboard to 35-28. Jessie Carmen fouled out of the contest with 5:28 left to play, and WC took another time-out. An offensive rebound basket by Zimbal gave the Lady Indians a 9-point advantage, but soon SF used another time-out to prevent a turnover. Joss Benisch (5' 3" Fr.) added two free-throws for WC, but they were soon countered by a stick-back basket by Gomez. On the next WC possession, ZImbal drew a charge on Benisch and Benisch left the game with 5 fouls. WC used their 4th time-out with 2:04 left in the contest. A free-throw by Jordyn Faulkender was followed by a basket by Zimbal in transition (assist Bandel). Zimbal then grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. Hannah sank both free-throws to give St. Francis their largest lead of the contest (44-30). Haylee Hennick would add the final basket of the contest to the Wildcats' total. St. Francis played "keep-away' to run out the final seconds of the game clock. The Lady Indians defeated the Lady Wildcats in the fiercely competitive game 44-32.

St. Francis received a balanced scoring attack with three players in double figures. Karly Bandel led the Lady Indians with 12 points. Hannah Zimbal and Alondra Gomex each added 10. Others scoring for St. Francis were Mia Morrow, Rian Zimbal, and McKenna Poling 3 each, Emma Johnson 2, and Jordyn Faulkender 1. The Lady Indians collected 21 fouls, had 25 turnovers, and made 11 of 24 from the line.

Wallace County was led in scoring by Lakin Perry with 12 points. Haylee Hennick added 9. The Lady Cats made 14 of 26 from the line, had 33 turnovers, and were whistled for 20 fouls.

The Lady Indians will now play Golden Plains in the championship game of the Sagebrush Classic Tournament at 5:30 p.m. in Brewster on Saturday, December 14.

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

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