Denied a Class 1A-Division I title a year ago by Olpe, Hoxie immediately went back to work toward the 2012 tournament.
That diligence — and the addition of freshman starters, helped Indians coach Shelly Hoyt win her first title with a 55-45 victory over St. John-Hudson on Saturday at White Auditorium.
“I’m excited for these kids since last March, when we walked off of this floor,” Hoyt said. “They set their goals, they worked every day, and this is what they got — the reward for them.
“Olpe was a better team last year, but I told the team, ‘We’ve got to beat the St. Johns of the world, the Olpes of the world, we don’t need to beat teams that we’re going to beat by 50 points. So, you need to practice like a state championship team. If you practice like a state championship team, you’re going to play like a state championship team, and this week they did.”
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The Indians (24-1) capitalized on a cold shooting performance by St. John (23-3), which hit 19 percent after halftime and finished shooting 26.7 percent for the game.
Meanwhile, freshman Carly Heim scored 14 of her team-high 18 points in the first half, and senior Mackenzie Mense hit three three-pointers within a two-minute stretch of the second quarter, helping Hoxie to a 32-27 halftime lead.
So, did Mense think the basket looked larger than usual? Farther away, maybe.
“It seemed like it was a half-mile away, but my team got me open for those and it wasn’t all just me,” she said.
Tigers standout post player Teresa Wade got into early foul trouble and finished with 13 points.