Varsity Basketball

Maize defense earns berth

DODGE CITY — With Maize's 10-point halftime lead whittled to one by Dodge City early in the fourth period of the Class 6A girls sub-state championship, coach Jerrod Handy turned to the half-court trap.

Good decision.

Maize held Dodge City scoreless and forced nine turnovers in the game's final 6:37 as the Eagles won 45-34 to advance to the Class 6A tournament for the second straight season.

"We were hitting them with the half-court trap, and that hurt them," Handy said. "The girls did a good job of trapping them."

Sophomore Jurnee Reid attributed that success to her team's connection.

"We can read each other," said Reid, who had a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. "We know where one player will be, and we can read each other and get the trap."

Dodge City coach Justin Briggs was frustrated with his team's decisions once Maize turned to the trap.

"We dribbled into their trap 10 straight times," he said. "We're smarter than that. We started trying to force things and it wasn't there."

Maize needed a stellar fourth quarter.

The Eagles had built a 27-17 halftime lead because of its ability to attack Dodge City's 3-2 zone defense and because it shot 52.6 percent from the floor. McKenzie Hartzog hit her first three three-pointers, while Reid, who is 5-foot-8, was strong in the lane.

"(Reid) works with what she has," said Hartzog, who had 11 points, five steals and two blocked shots. "She has all the post moves a true post has, and she makes do with what her height is."

"Our guards, we pushed it down to the corner, which brought the sideline out, which left the posts wide open," Reid said. "We posted up on the top girl, and we were successful at that."

But after halftime, Maize's offense disappeared.

The Eagles missed 11 of 12 shots before Lisa Tomasu, who had four steals, hit a buzzer-beating three at the end of the third quarter.

"We fell apart, but we pulled it together," Reid said.

It wasn't easy, though. Dodge City's Alexis Sanchez hit a jumper with 6:38 remaining to get within 35-34. While Maize's Erin Roeser scored inside, it was the only field goal the Eagles made in the fourth.

Dodge City started fouling in earnest with 3:47 to go, and Maize made 8 of 16 free throws.

"We struggled with our free throws, which was surprising, but we fought through it, and we finished," Hartzog said.

Dodge City (15-6) 9 8 14 3 — 34 Maize (17-5) 15 13 8 10 — 45

DODGE CITY: Briggs 8, Sanchez 4, Buckner 5, Thompson 10, Pencis 7. Totals 12 (3) 8-11 34.

MAIZE: Tomasu 3, Hartzog 11, Reid 16, McCreath 2, Lungwitz 11, Roeser 2. Totals 13 (5) 14-30 45.

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