Bishop Miege’s full-court pressure defense took its toll on defending champion Wamego in the Stags’ 57-41 victory on Saturday in the Kansas Class 4A Division I state title game at the Bicentennial Center.
Miege finished the season 22-3 and, in the process, dealt Wamego its first loss of the season after 24 victories.
As in two previous state tournament games for Miege, the Stags hit their opponent with an early barrage — specifically a 2-2-1 zone press.
This time it was an 11-0 burst in the first quarter that turned a tight 8-6 game into a 19-6 Miege lead. Overall, Miege also produced 17 points off 15 Raider turnovers.
“It was the same scenario as our press got us to the lead and (Wamego) was just having trouble handling the ball,” said Miege coach Terry English.
“They were just throwing a lot of bad passes, so we got some easy buckets early, got out to a lead and got comfortable.”
Still, that did not tell the tale of how Miege’s defense was going to work against the Page sisters. But he did have a plan.
“The big kids we held them to two points (each) in the first half and, defensively, we were doing what we wanted to do. We had some things ready because I didn’t know if we could play them straight up man.”
His scouting report indicated that one of the 6-3 Page girls (Lanie, the junior) looked to score more than the other. So English elected to cover her with Lexie Villegas, leaving Madeline Homoly sagging into the middle to play help defense.
“Lexie is just a tough kid and our best defensive player. With her size (5-11), she’s physical enough that I thought Lexie could stop her and hold her off.”
Wamego was able to get the deficit to single figures (29-20) at halftime, but the Stags came out of the locker room and throttled Wamego with a 17-7 run.
That’s when English ordered his troops to put the ball in the deep freeze. With the quickness of its perimeter players, Miege worked nearly 3 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock and led 46-29 entering the fourth quarter.
Villegas and Shelbe Pigge share the scoring lead for Miege with 15 each. Homoly finished with a double-double, 13 points and 12 boards.
Kaylee Page finished her Wamego career with 14 points and 11 rebounds.Andover Central girls 61, Piper 43
Andover Central blistered the nets from three-point range and defeated Piper 61-43 in the Kansas 4A Division I third-place girls game.
The Jaguars connected on eight-of-14 three-pointers, while Piper only hit two-of-15 from three-point land.
Andover Central jumped out to a 15-9 lead after a quarter, then led by 29-14 at the half. A three-pointer by Brook Pederson, followed by a basket by Rebecca Shulte increased Andover Central’s lead to 20 points less than a minute into the third quarter.
Piper made a game of it in the final quarter, trimming its deficit to 54-42, but Central pulled away down the stretch.
Megan Stamp and Pederson shared the scoring lead for Central, with 15 points apiece. Pederson was three-of-four on three-pointers.
Jessica Wayne led Piper with 16 points.
Both teams completed their seasons with 20-5 records.Paola 72 boys, El Dorado 57
A suggestion by members of the Paola boys team to coach Dave Cash in the third quarter proved beneficial in the Pirates’ 72-57 victory over El Dorado in the Kansas 4A Division I third-place game.
The Panthers had dropped a heartbreaking decision in overtime to McPherson less than 24 hours earlier, but in the span of 1 minute, 46 seconds during the third quarter on Saturday, Paola bounced back and found its groove.
Paola led 40-39, when Cash took his players’ advice and gave in to their suggestion to press.
“The kids said ‘Let’s press’ and I said we’d try it, but if we give up a layup, we’re getting out of it. We did speed the game up and that was to our advantage.”
Lucas Wilson, who led Paola with 20 points, got things started with a spin move to the basket. Mason McDow followed with a thunderous dunk off a set play. A three-pointer by Justin Criddle and a short jumper by McDow finished off the Panthers’ 9-0 run.
Criddle followed Wilson in the Paola scoring column with 17 points and McDow added 13. Travis House led El Dorado with 24 points, and Alec Hildreth added 22.