Senior Ciera Lampe hit a three-point basket with 23 seconds left to cap a final run for the Dodge City Lady Demons to a 37-36 victory over the Garden City Lady Buffaloes in a Class 6A sub-state first round game at The New Garden.
The Lady Demons had been told all season that if teams won't win if they can't score and the Dodge City defense clamped down in the fourth quarter and used a 10-3 run to record the upset over the Lady Buffaloes.
"We went out there and we played like we needed to," Lampe said. "We knew we had to win to keep our season going. We fought hard and played together and had fun. We just knew that we just had to keep it under our control."
Lampe scored 11 and six rebounds to lead Dodge City. She had been most of the Lady Demon offense in the first half; but struggled with her shot in the second half until she hit the game-winning three.
The Lady Demons (6-14) didn't panic when trailing by 12 early in the third quarter. Dodge City started to chip away at the deficit and the Lady Buffaloes couldn't get their offense going again. Dodge City made six of their nine shots in the final quarter and outrebounded the taller Lady Buffaloes 30-26.
"The girls played excellent," said DCHS head coach Kelley Snodgrass. "They stuck with the gameplan and Garden didn't get going with their transition. We took care of the ball. They were communicating and had a great team effort. Everybody hit the big shots when we needed them."
Garden City, the Western Athletic Conference champions, had beaten Dodge City 60-37 and 60-38 in their two games in the regular season. The 36 points were 12 points less than their regular season season low in points. The Lady Buffaloes were 1-of-10 in the loss.
"We got outhustled the first two contests and we wanted some revenge, but it was also about pride considering the first two games," Snodgrass said.
Alexis Sanchez added eight points and Breckyne Pike, Jessie Harshberger and Katrina Roenfeldt scored six apiece.
Taryn Tempel scored 15 points for the Lady Buffaloes (17-4), while Johna McClelland added eight in the loss.
The Lady Demons forced five Garden City turnovers and didn't allow a point in the first six minutes; but Dodge City could get only a 3-pointer by Lampe and a free throw by Sanchez for a 4-0 lead. Lampe hit a second 3-pointer to help the Lady Demons score 7-6 by the end of the stanza.
Garden City scored nine of the first 11 points of the second quarter to build a 15-9 lead midway through the stanza. The Lady Buffaloes led 19-11 at halftime.
Dodge City made four baskets in the first half, three by Lampe. The senior had eight points in the half for the Lady Demons; while Tempel scored eight points and Tornero five more for Garden City.
The Lady Buffaloes scored the first six points of the second half to push the margin up to 23-11, but the Lady Demons scored eight straight to cut the deficit to four with 1:40 left in the third quarter. Garden City led 29-23 going into the final quarter.
Garden City kept the margin between four and eight for most of the fourth stanza, but a basket by Pike, and a three-pointer by Roenfeldt cut the deficit to 33-32 with 1:28 left in regulation.
McClelland hit a basket was quickly answered by Harshberger; then the Lady Demons rebounded a miss and called timeout to set up the final heroics.
"I really didn't know if I hit, but I really don't know what to say but that it went in," Lampe said of her game-winning shot.
Garden City had a chance to tie the game with eight seconds left, but Tempel missed the second free throw on a two-shot opportunity. The Lady Buffaloes' last chance after a free throw miss was off the mark, ending their season.
The Lady Demons will travel to Maize to play Saturday in a sub-state final for a chance to play in next week's state tournament at Wichita State University. Maize beat Campus 47-32.
"We really are not ready for our season to end," Lampe said. "We know we have to prepare hard and go in there and play together like we did tonight."