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WAVERLY — The St. Paul Indians handed the Southern Coffey County Titans a 61-37 loss in KSHSAA Class 1A D-II Sub-State action here Thursday.
Southern Coffey County entered the night with a record of 11-9, having knocked off Altoona-Midway last Thursday. St. Paul held a record of 14-5 and a No. 9 ranking by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association in the final poll of the season.
Despite the uneven final score, the Titans held on throughout most of the matchup before the Indians ran away with things late. St. Paul led just 13-10 after a period and 24-17 at halftime.
Southern Coffey County was feeding Jalea True for most of the first half, as nearly every time she touched the ball it turned into two points. A halftime adjustment was needed to slow the center down even more than the original game plan had accounted for.
“We were playing behind her and trying to have the wing help,” St. Paul head coach Calea Augustin said. “At half we moved Ava (Chambers) to playing in front of her and getting backside help. That seemed to help, as they didn’t go to her as much in the second half.”
Augustin noted her team has struggled getting warmed up in the first and third quarters this season, and the problem reared its head once again to open the night. The Indians shot just 33 percent from the floor in the first half, converting on just 1-of-12 shots from deep.
“Coming out in that third quarter we really talked about coming out hot, valuing every possession and running our offense instead of just running around and throwing up a shot,” Augustin said. “They really worked hard on defense and finally got the stops. I think them finally running the offense — and not forcing it — really got them going.”
St. Paul got hot in the back half, increasing their shooting efficiency to 50 percent. After closing the third quarter on a 9-1 run, the Indians detonated for a 19-1 run in the final frame to put the game out of reach.
“Everyone really stepped up tonight,” Augustin said. “Josey is our main playmaker, and she really stepped up and got the momentum going when we needed it tonight.”
Harris finished the night with a game-high 26 points, three steals and a pair of blocks.
Sophomore Megan Doherty made her impact felt off the bench, checking into the game to record a steal-turned-assist in her first 30 seconds on the court.
“She is very lengthy and can get her hands in between a lot,” Augustin said. “We like to use her against anybody that can’t handle the ball very well, and she gets a lot of steals for us that way.”
Doherty finished the night with 4 points, four steals, three rebounds and three assists.
The Indians also kept things clean, turning the ball over just 10 times, five of which came in transition mix ups during the third quarter. This was juxtaposed by 27 Southern Coffey County turnovers.
“(Keeping it clean) is gonna be important, especially against a team like we’re gonna see Saturday,” Augustin said. “We can’t rush it and throw the ball away, every single possession is gonna matter.”
Senior Kenna Doherty added a 14-point, 10-rebound performance to the scorebook, while senior Sophia Albertini scored nine to go with four assists and two blocks. Senior Chloe Seme scored six, and sophomore Jorja Harris netted two.
No. 9 St. Paul (16-5) returns to Waverly on Saturday for a finals matchup with the undefeated, second-ranked Lebo Wolves.
Southern Coffey County: 10 7 12 8 — 37
St. Paul: 13 11 15 22 — 61
Southern Coffey County: Jalea True 18, Josie Weers 11, Karley Ohl 5, Ross Snovelle 3
St. Paul: Josey Harris 26, Kenna Doherty 14, Sophia Albertini 9, Chloe Seme 6, Megan Doherty 4, Jorja Harris 2
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