In the most recent Kansas Basketball Coaches Association 1A girls basketball team rankings, the Spearville Lancers had been ranked No. 3 in the state, just behind No. 2 Olpe and No. 1 Central Plains.
Monday night, the Kiowa County Mavericks beat them.
After having to win a play-in game against No. 9 seed Minneola Friday, the No. 8-seeded Mavericks knocked off the No. 1-seeded Lancers in the 2019 SPIAA League Basketball Tournament. The final score was 57-55.
Spearville will play in Thursday’s 3 p.m. consolation game against Hodgeman County, who was routed by South Central Monday night.
Kiowa County advances to play Tournament No. 4 seed South Gray at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Kiowa County junior Sabrina Thomas had a game-high 26 points for the Mavericks, who utilized her strong presence and efforts near the basket throughout the night.
Mavericks head coach Thomas Derstein said what allowed his team to pull off the upset was the way the kids never quit and always stuck to the game plan.
“Our game plan going in was box-and-one on (sophomore Alissa) Heskamp, even though we thought (junior Ehlaina) Hartman was their best player,” Derstein said. “We stayed box-and-one on Heskamp just because we thought she was their engine, and even when Hartman got some tough buckets, the girls never second-guessed, they stayed after it.”
Heskamp finished with a team-high 20 points. Hartman finished 18. Junior Brianna Ede had 9 for the Lancers.
To be clear, Derstein pointed out that it was not a perfect performance the entire game by the Mavericks.
“We came out a little flat in the third, did the opposite of what we said at halftime, that we needed to start getting rebounds,” Derstein said. “(We) gave up a few rebounds, got down 10.”
Spearville led 26-24 at halftime, and built a 38-28 lead late in the third quarter, but Kiowa County hung around. The Lancers led 43-36 at the end of the third.
After having led at various points during a very back-and-forth first quarter, including at the end of it when they led 17-15, the Mavericks took the lead for the final time with less than three minutes left in the fourth.
Thomas hit some key shots, as did senior Casey Erickson.
Erickson had four 3-pointers Monday night against Spearville. One came in the first quarter. The other three, and both of her two free throws (she was 2 of 2 on the night from the line) all came in the fourth.
She finished second on the team in points, with 14. Senior Brecken VandenHoek also was in double figures, with 11 points.
“I’ve just been waiting for them to figure it out where we can score. And finally in the fourth we started swinging the ball, getting it into our post, who was a mismatch, and then not settling for driving, contested layups. And actually swinging the ball, getting it into our post, and then kicking it out and knocking down 3’s,” Derstein said.
Erickson’s 3’s in the fourth helped swing the momentum of the game Kiowa County’s way. Derstein described some of the 3’s the team hit in the fourth quarter as “dagger 3’s.”
After having returned only two players this season who played a lot last season, the Mavericks continue to learn who they are this year and how to play together, Derstein said.
Monday night, they played pretty well.
- Spearville will play in Thursday’s 3 p.m. consolation game against Hodgeman County, who was routed by South Central Monday night.
- Kiowa County advances to play Tournament No. 4 seed South Gray at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.