The Ingalls Lady Bulldogs and the Fowler Goldbugs have had similar paths all season. Both teams won their Southern Plains-Iroquois Activities Association regular season and tournament titles, and both teams had perfect 20-0 regular seasons.
Another addition to their similarities took place Saturday night as both squads won their Class 1A-Division II sub-state titles over Ashland to qualify for the state tournament to be played at Fort Hays State University next weekend.
The Lady Bulldogs beat Ashland 46-34 to punch their ticket to the state tourney, while the Goldbugs beat the Bluejays 54-37 in the boys final.
It was a rough go for the Lady Bulldogs in the second half as their defense again was key to their victory. Ingalls forced 27 Ashland turnovers in the game.
"The defense won the game for us," said Ingalls head coach Roger Thurlow. "They hit three threes in the first three minutes of the first game, and then we got after it on defense and that's what won the game for us."
It was a pretty second half when it comes to offense for Ingalls (23-0), making only one field goal after intermission.
"We shot a lot of free throws, but we were just tight on offense," Thurlow said. "Rebecca Wyatt had a nice gem in the first half, but I think we were pressing a little in the second half."
Wyatt and Kaisha Batman scored 13 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs; but Thurlow said the offensive key to the win was Hope Beach coming off the bench to score 10 points for Ingalls.
Shelby Luerman scored 10 points to lead Ashland (16-7).
Ingalls will play Southern Coffey County (10-13) in a first round game Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Titans were the top seed in the Allen County sub-state.
"We don't know that much about them," Thurlow said. "They have a little bit of size, so that;s something we may have to deal with. We'll find out Wednesday because I don't know about them. Considering they score 34 points a game, they must play defense pretty well. I hope our quickness will overcome their size."
Fowler boys 54, Ashland 37
Meanwhile the Goldbugs allowed only one field goal in the first period and led 26-11 at halftime. The Fowler defense was focused on Ashland leading scorer Grant Meininger, particularly post players Ty Clark and Jett Reese.
"That was our main job, but Everybody chipped in and helped out there on defense," said Fowler boys basketball head coach Scott Brown. "We played tremendous defense in the first half. There was great communication on the help side. It was definitely a team effort."
Clark led Fowler (23-0) with 16 points and Taylin Bird added 14 in the victory. Meininger scored 12 points and Corey McCann added 11 in the loss for Ashland (13-10).
Brown said the Goldbugs have also been successful because they have more than a few weapons on the offensive side of the game.
"That's what makes it difficult to defend us," Brown said. "We have a bunch of guys who can burn you and we have guys off the bench. That's what makes the ability to build a good team is that you can't double team because we have so many weapons.
The Goldbugs will play Cunningham in a first round game at 3 p.m. at Fort Hays State University. The Wildcats won the Kiowa sub-state to reach the state tournament.
"No matter who we're playing, we're going to focus on what we're going to do," Brown said. "We try to focus on how to improve as a team and as individuals."