CHS girls nip Pioneers, 36-35
SALINA — Surviving three missed shots by Wichita West in the closing seconds, the Concordia Panthers snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 36-35 victory in the seventh-place game of the Salina Invitational Tournament Saturday morning at Salina South High School.
Kendall Reynolds hit the second of two free throws with 24 seconds remaining in the game to give Concordia a 36-35 lead on Wichita West.
Micah Slater, who scored 11 of her game high 15 points for Wichita West in the fourth quarter, missed on a shot to give the Pioneers the lead.
Slater grabbed the offensive rebound, but couldn’t connect on a putback attempt.
The ball went out of bounds to Wichita West with 12 seconds on the clock.
Alexia Mushi was unable to hit a three-point attempt, and the ball again went of bounds, this time to Concordia.
The Panthers (2-10) were then able to run the final five seconds off the clock to secure their first win since defeating Smoky Valley back on December 7.
“It is definitely better than going 0-3 in the tournament. We ended it on a positive note, and we can be happy with that. We can learn from it and move on,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said.
A game that got off to a slow start heated up in the fourth quarter.
Concordia led 22-17 heading into the final period, but Slater went on a 9-2 run to give Wichita West a 26-24 lead.
There would be three lead changes and three ties over next four minutes.
Trailing 31-30, the Panthers got a three-point basket by Zoe Bechard and a bucket by Katlynn Miller to go up 35-31 with under two minutes to play.
A basket by Slater pulled the Pioneers within two points, 35-33, with 1:42 on the clock.
Following an empty possession by Concordia, Mushi drove to the basket, scored and was fouled.
Mushi missed the free throw but the game was tied at 35-35.
The Panthers turned the ball over, but Slater missed on a shot to give Wichita West the lead back and Terin Rundus grabbed the rebound for Concordia.
Reynolds was then fouled with 24 seconds left.
After missing the first free throw attempt, the sophomore hit the second to put the Panthers up by a point.
“We know she can do it. She just has to step up there with confidence and knock them down,” Wahlmeier said of Reynolds hitting the go-ahead free throw.
That set up the furious final seconds.
Bechard led a balanced Concordia attack with nine points.
“I give a lot of credit to Zoe. I thought throughout the entire game she was giving a full effort,” Wahlmeier said.
Miller finished with six points for the Panthers, and Reynolds added five points.
Both teams were a little slow to wake up for the game that tipped off at 11 a.m.
Concordia missed on its first 10 field goal attempts and did not score for better than seven minutes to start the game.
Wichita West (1-10) was able to score just six points.
Bechard grabbed an offensive rebound and scored Concordia’s first two points with 55 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Consecutive baskets by Miller and Bechard in the first 1:30 of the second period pulled the Panthers even at 6-6.
Concordia, hampered by turnovers, scored just two more points in the period.
Wichita West used an 8-2 spurt to go up 14-8 at halftime.
The Pioneers then missed on all seven field goal attempts in the third quarter, and managed just three free throws.
A 9-3 run pulled Concordia even at 17-17.
“We found a group in the third quarter that was playing hard,” Wahlmeier said.
Conway scored inside and reserve guard Genna Strait hit a three to give Concordia a 22-17 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The two teams went back and forth in the final period, and the Panthers were able to pull out the win.
Concordia plays a North Central Kansas League game at Abilene on Tuesday night.
WICHITA WEST (35)
Mushi 2-2-4 7, Campos 0-0-1 0, Turley 3-2-1 8, Slater 7-1-4 15, Owens 2-0-3 4, Putnam 0-1-3 0. Totals: 14-6-16 35.
Bechard 3-2-3 9, E. Wahlmeier 0-0-2 0, Conway 3-1-1 7, Reynolds 1-2-1 5, Strait 1-0-1 3, K. Wahlmeier 1-0-0 2, Rundus 2-0-5 4, Miller 3-0-3 6. Totals: 14-5-16 36.