TOPEKA — In a game marked by offensive outbursts, St. Thomas Aquinas weathered a final Newton run Friday at the Topeka Expocentre to advance to the Class 5A state championship game with a 42-40 victory.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
It was the 13th consecutive victory for the Saints (23-1), who haven’t lost to a Kansas school this season.
“This was a game of runs on both sides,” Aquinas coach Rick Hetzel said. “Both sides played hard.”
There were six lead changes in the game. Newton had an 11-2 run and the Saints had a run of 20-3.
The Saints had 41-34 advantage after senior Haleigh Cindrich scored on a backdoor lay-up with 43 seconds left, but the Railers wouldn’t go away. Newton senior Abbie Lehman canned a three-pointer to cut the lead to 41-37 at the 30-second mark.
After Aquinas junior Allie Dierks hit a free throw with 27-seconds left, Newton sophomore Taylor Stahly tallied another three-pointer to make it 42-40 at the 9-second mark.
Freshman Rhyann Fisher missed a free throw with 6 ticks left. But the Railers could only manage a long attempt from just over the half-court line as time ran out. It didn’t hit the rim.
Dierks was the only Saint to score in double figures with 13. She was two-of-two from behind the three-point line.
Lehman and Stahly had a game-high 16 points each. Lehman completed her double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Saturday will be the 10th time the Saints have been in a state championship game. They have won three titles, the last in 2011.
Mill Valley girls 34
Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 32
Mill Valley may have been just playing in the Jaguars first state tournament, but the Jaguars showed poise down the stretch in beating defending champion Wichita Kapaun-Mount Carmel 34-32 in the second girls semifinal game.
The Jaguars, 22-1, will meet St. Thomas Aquinas in the state title game Saturday at 4 p.m.
And with SM South in the boys state championship game there is a chance for what is thought to be the first father-son state championships on the same day. SM South coach Brett McFall is the son of Mill Valley coach John McFall.
The Jaguars led 18-8 at halftime and 27-20 entering the fourth quarter.
They did it with good shooting and a full-court 1-2-2 zone press that forced nine first-half turnovers and gave . the Crusaders trouble all night.
Mill Valley didn’t score in the first 5 minutes, 23 seconds of the fourth quarter, but still had the lead.
But then the Crusaders’ Molly McAuliffe hit a three-pointer with 1:58 to play to cut the margin to 31-30.
After the Jaguars missed a free throw, Kapaun’s Sydney Kuhn followed a missed shot to give the Crusaders the lead. She was fouled but missed the free throw with 49 seconds to play.
And after a Jaguar timeout, senior Stephanie Lichtenauer fed junior Carly Eaton for a lay up and the lead at 33-32 with 19 seconds left.
The Crusaders then had an untimely infraction on an in-bounds play, turning the ball over to Mill Valley.
Senior McKenzie Koch made the second of two free throws at the 10-second mark for the final margin.
Kapaun was unable to get a good final shot, and the Jaguars are headed to the state championship game.
“They bought into what we are doing,” McFall said. “They kept battling and battling. Our trademark is defense.”
Lichtenauer was the leading scorer in the game with 17 points. She was five-of-seven behind the three-point line.
Bachrodt paced the Crusaders with 14 points.
SM South boys 70,
Mill Valley 57
Shawnee Mission South jumped to a 12-3 lead and never trailed in beating Mill Valley 70-57 in the first Class 5A boys semifinal game.
The Raiders (24-0) will attempt Saturday to duplicate the 25-0 season posted by the 1990 team, which won the only state title in the school’s history.
“We had a great start,” Raider coach Brett McFall said. “We got to the rim and hit our shots.”
The Jaguars (19-4) didn’t give up without a fight. They trailed 35-23 at halftime and cut the margin to 39-31, but that was as close as they came.
SM South led 51-33 entering the fourth quarter.
The Raiders’ shooting was outstanding. They were 21-of-23 from the line and seven-of-14 from behind the three-point line.
“We shot the ball well and took care of business,” McFall said.
Sophomore DeAngelo Bruster came off the bench to lead the Raiders in scoring with 21. He was eight-of-nine from the free throw line. Another sophomore, Dainan Swoope, added 17, including five-of-seven behind the three-point line and senior Jake Caldwell had 13.
Senior Nathan Stacy paced the Jaguars with 18 points, and senior Brett Hamilton came off the bench to score 14.
Swoope and Caldwell grabbed seven rebounds each in leading the Raiders to a 26-25 advantage on the boards.
Stacy had a game-high nine rebounds.
Lansing boys 71, Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 56
Lansing will make its first appearance in the state title game since 1950 after the Lions defeated defending champion Wichita Kapaun-Mount Carmel in Friday’s second boys semifinal.
The Lions, 22-1, meet undefeated SM South (24-0) at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Lansing led 37-28 at halftime and 52-45 entering the last quarter. The Lions pulled away in the fourth quarter for the easy victory.
Lansing had four players in double figures, led by senior Roy Clayter with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Khalil Bailey came in off the bench to score 16 and juniors Joe Schneider and Clayton Young added 14 and 10 respectively.
Lansing connected on 27 of 58 field goal attempts for 47 percent and 14 of 18 at the free throw line.
Crusader senior Toby Baxter was the leading scorer in the game with 22 points. Senior Jeremy Lickteig hauled in 11 rebounds.