If Saturday’s first minute of the Maize-Wichita South girls game was defined by the four fouls called on South, including two on starter Madison Northcutt, then the final minute was all about big plays.
South got a jumper from freshman Kyla Callins to tie the score, a steal by Callins, a three-point play by Kirea Rogers and a block by Kendrian Elliott. All in 58 seconds.
South also got a 51-49 win, rallying from a 10-point deficit early in the quarter to hand Maize its first loss.
Could Maize and South meet again in the Class 6A tournament, also at Koch Arena? South coach Antwain Scales hopes so.
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“I want to see them again,” said Scales, whose team is the 6A defending champion and improved to 5-1. “I’d love to do it. In my heart, this is a great atmosphere, a great state environment.”
Keiryn Swenson helped Maize build a 13-point third-quarter lead and head into the fourth period up 39-29. Swenson finished with 22 points, five rebounds and a block.
South struggled to stop Swenson and got into foul trouble. By the 7:51 mark of the second quarter, three South starters had two fouls apiece.
“We were letting them get buckets over us,” sophomore guard Ericka Mattingly said. “I don’t know what was going on. We needed to step it up, get rebounds, play defense.”
South opened the final period with an 11-2 run to get within one after Mattingly’s three-pointer with 3:14 to go. Maize answered with a three-point play by Baalman, and then Swenson put the Eagles up 48-46 on two free throws.
Swenson hit 10 of 14 free throws.
Callins tied the score on her jumper — she finished with eight points — and stole the ball coming out of a Maize timeout.
With 43 seconds to go, Mattingly took control of the ball, but as she drove inside with about 10 seconds to go, she got too far under the basket, nearly falling out of bounds.
“I just kicked it out to Kirea because obviously I was too far under the basket,” said Mattingly, who had 10 points, three assists and five rebounds.
Rogers scored with 5.1 seconds to go but went to the free-throw line for the three-point play 51-49 lead when Swenson picked up her fifth foul.
“It was a loose ball type of thing,” Maize coach Jerrod Handy said. “You try to be in the right spot, Keiryn happened to be in a bad position, and she got called for her fifth foul. It’s one of those things where you could probably let it go or make the call. They decided to make the call.”
Maize still had a full 5.1 seconds to go, but Elliott ended the threat when she swatted away a Maize shot.
“I was in position,” said Elliott, who had 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks. “I was ready to get the rebound. When she got it over me, I just knew I had to do something to stop it so they wouldn’t tie the ballgame.”
Scales admitted to a bit of concern about that block.
“It was a great block,” he said. “I was kind of nervous. All night we battled foul trouble. It was gruesome. Overall, we were able to persevere. That’s been the heart of us.”
Maize: Swenson 22, Baalman 5, Johnson 2, Handy 8, Byrd 11, McClure 1.
Wichita South: Elliott 15, Franklin 1, Mattingly 10, Rogers 10, Northcutt 7, Callins 8.