Kapaun senior Sydney Kuhn hit her only shot from the field in the first half Friday night in the semifinals of the Newton tournament. She also made two free throws.
No surprise, at halftime, Kapaun trailed Newton.
“It was 20-15 (at half), and we had to have the lead by the end of the third quarter, that’s what I told them,” Kapaun coach Marvin Estes said of his halftime speech. “And the way we were going to do it was we were going to get the ball into Syd.”
The Crusaders did just that, and Kuhn finished with nine second-half points as Kapaun beat Newton 37-26. Kapaun (12-0) will play Miege (10-2) in Saturday’s championship game at 4:30 p.m.
“We got the ball into Syd and it was easy points,” said junior guard Sam Bachrodt, who had a game-high 14 points. “We started building and building our lead.
“(Getting the ball to Kuhn) was crucial. We weren’t getting her involved in the first half at all. That’s what broke them. They couldn’t guard her. She’s too good for them.”
Kuhn, the tallest player on the floor at 6-foot-1, also added five rebounds and four blocks.
Newton doesn’t have the height to play with Kuhn, but the Railers controlled the first half.
“We were on defense for about four minutes and (then) on offense for about 30 seconds,” Bachrodt said.
Newton’s Hannah Carlgren was 3 of 3 from three-point range, and it was Logan Porter who scored inside to put the Railers up 20-10 with 2:05 to go in the first half.
Despite shooting 8 of 14 in the first half, including 4 of 7 from three-point range, Newton’s offense stumbled. The Railers scored six second-half points, including only one in the fourth quarter.
“There was a pretty long stretch in the fourth quarter where we just couldn’t get anything to go down,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “And with a team that good, you gotta put the ball in the hole.”
It was in the final period, which began with the score tied, when Miege successfully sped up Carroll beyond what the Eagles could handle.
Five turnovers later and no Carroll field goals in the period, Miege had the game in hand as it advanced to Saturday’s championship game.
"I told them that we lost because of turnovers," said Carroll coach Taylor Steven, whose team committed 17. "At times we get sped up and turn the ball over. If we don’t have control and patience and getting into triple-threat every time and looking up the court, we tend to turn the ball over a little bit."
Miege went on runs of 11-0 and 15-6 in the first half as it built a 35-26 lead with 1:38 to go in the first half.
Carroll answered in the third as it got six points from forward Jordyn Miller to tie the score at 43-all. Miller finished with eight points, while Shelby Lopez led the Eagles with 16.
The Eagles’ offense was efficient through those periods, shooting 19 of 33 from the field and 4 of 6 from three-point range.
"They were a step quicker than us. We were a step slow all night long," Miege coach Terry English said. "We have a very quick team. We’d been very good on the press this year. We just couldn’t get ourselves in the right spots. "
In the final period, though, Carroll committed an early turnover and missed all seven field goal attempts. And after Miege’s Tristen McFeders converted a three-point play with 5:51 to go, Miege’s offense quickly became patient.
McFeders finished with 18.
Carroll failed to establish the same sort of rhythm it had in the first 24 minutes of the game, and the Eagles stalled out, compounding the problem with turnovers. Carroll had possession for the final 50 seconds of the game and got off one shot, and it wasn’t a three.
“They made a couple shots, got their momentum up,” Steven said of Miege. “I don’t think we fell off, but we couldn’t get something (going).”
“Last night we weren’t hitting anything, and tonight, Skyler (Snodgrass) was just making all of them, and Brooke (Pedersen), too. It was fun,” said Andover Central guard Masen Stamp, who had 18 points and five steals.
Andover Central forced 16 first-half turnovers, converting them to 15 points as the Jaguars rolled into the fifth-place game.
“I think that’s what really fired us up,” Snodgrass said, referring to Andover Central’s defensive effort.
The Jaguars shot 17 of 29 from the field in the first half as it built a 28-point lead. By the end of the third, they led by 45.
Snodgrass led all scorers with 21 points, as she hit 3 of 3 three-pointers and 9 of 12 shots. Pedersen and Katie Kretchmar added 10 points apiece, while Becca Schulte had nine rebounds, six points.
Kapaun 37, Newton 26
Miege 53, Carroll 45
Andover Central 68, Dodge City 42
Video includes the Newton student section
Kapaun senior Sydney Kuhn
Kapaun junior Sam Bachrodt
Kapaun coach Marvin Estes
Newton coach Randy Jordan
Andover Central guard Masen Stamp
Andover Central guard Skyler Snodgrass
Carroll coach Taylor Steven
Miege coach Terry English