Sophomore Taylor Nichols has perhaps matured more than any other Dodge City Lady Demon this season as she played, perhaps, her best gave ever for her team this season Wednesday night.
Nichols scored 12 points — including eight in the pivotal second quarter — to help lead the Lady Demons to a 50-31 victory over the Hutchinson Lady Salthawks in Class 6A girls sub-state action at DCHS Field House.
The sophomore post made five of her six shots in the contest and also grabbed four rebounds as she came off the bench to help lead the Lady Demons.
"I felt real comfortable playing with them," Nichols said. "I was having a lot of confidence and playing in the flow as a team. It felt good."
Lady Demon head coach Kelley Snodgrass said Nichols has been a huge spark to the team.
"She's done a great job," Snodgrass said. "She can score points in a short amount of time and hit the boards. She was all over the place and we're looking for big things from her."
The Lady Demons shot 12-of-19 from the field in the first half on the way to taking the home win and setting up a battle against state-ranked Wichita South in a sub-state final contest.
"They are going to be a tough team, but we are going to work hard for it and we can do it," said Dodge City senior Katrina Roenfeldt.
Roenfeldt led Dodge City (12-9) with 13 points and five rebounds, while Brianna Bradshaw also scored in double figures with 10 in the win. The Lady Demons outrebounded the taller Lady Salthawks 28-25 and scored 30 points off of 25 Hutchinson turnovers.
"Different people stepped up and took the challenge," Snodgrass said. "I think it was a great team effort. We forced 25 turnovers and 19 (of them were) steals and the transition baskets led us on offense."
The Lady Demons scored the first two baskets before Hutchinson hit three straight to take a 6-4 lead three minutes into the game. They were the only points the Lady Salthawks scored in the first 11 minutes of play.
Dodge City didn't take advantage of any Hutchinson turnovers, but a late steal and lay-up just before the buzzer by Bradshaw put Dodge City up 9-6 after one stanza.
The Lady Demons dominated on both ends of the floor to open the second period, scoring the first 10 points before Hutchinson made its first basket of the stanza. Dodge City continued to push and led 29-14 at halftime, making eight of its nine shots in the quarter. Fourteen of the Lady Demons' points in that quarter came off of Lady Salthawk turnovers.
The Lady Demons extended the lead up to 20 midway through the third quarter and led 40-23 with one period remaining; with the Lady Salthawks never getting closer than 16 in the final eight minutes of play.
The Lady Demons will travel to Wichita for their sub-state final game against South with a 7 p.m. Friday tipoff. South beat Wichita North 65-28 in the other sub-state bracket game.
HUTCHINSON (31) — Jenna Higgins 3, Lyrie Martin 2, Shayla DeGarmo 9, Emily Wessel 2, Logan Riggs 3, McKinna Kraus 12. Totals 12 2-5 31.
DODGE CITY (50) — Brianna Bradshaw 10, Rachel Durler 2, Tia Bradshaw 4, Jessie Harshberger 2, Katrina Roenfeldt 13, Baily Shelor 7, Taylor Nichols 12. Totals 21 8-12 50.
Hutchinson 6 8 9 8 — 31
Dodge City 9 20 11 10 —50
Three-point baskets — Hutchinson 5 (Higgins 1, DeGarmo 3, Riggs 1). Records — Hutchinson 10-11, Dodge City 12-9.