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Close games abound at Blue Jay Invitational

December 11, 2010|By SCOTT LAVELOCK | Eyewitness Sports

CIMARRON, Kan. — Cimarron High School has invited seven other schools for its annual Blue Jay Invitational for the last seven years, but it’s doubtful that many of those previous tournaments – or many tournaments around the state for that matter – saw as many close games as took place in Friday’s semifinal round on both the boys’ and girls’ sides.

Each of those four games was within four points at halftime, and three of them came down to the wire in the fourth quarter as four different schools emerged with a chance to lay claim to a title on Saturday. Satanta will take on Cimarron in the girls’ championship at 6 p.m. after Satanta knocked off defending state champion South Gray 44-39 and the host team defended their home court with a 47-40 win over Meade. The boys’ championship, meanwhile, will feature South Gray against Meade at 8 p.m. on Saturday after Meade held off Sublette 49-46 and South Gray pulled away from Cimarron in the second half to win 48-33.

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Friday’s first game saw the South Gray girls jump out to a 20-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Satanta came back to cut the lead to one by halftime. The Rebels extended the lead to 33-29 late in the third quarter with a 3-point play by Dusty Watkins, but it was mostly downhill for them from there. The Indians’ Minerba Gonzalez tied it 33-33 with a jumper from the right elbow with seven minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, and Satanta took the lead for good with 6:35 left when Kelsey Blair hit a pair of free throws after a technical foul. That was about all that went right for Satanta from the charity stripe, as they went 13-for-28 while South Gray went 10-for-13, but the Indians went on to win as they extended their run to 10-0 on a 3-point play by Aubree Young, who finished with 17 points, which made it 39-33. The Rebels were able to cut the lead back to one possession late in the fourth behind 17 points and a pair of 3-pointers on the game from Mikayla Skidmore, but they didn’t have enough. Blair led all scorers with 18 points and three 3-pointers.

In the first boys’ game on Friday Meade kept trying to pull away from Sublette, but the Larks kept hanging around. Meade’s Gunner Cordes turned an old-fashioned 3-point play to break a 14-14 tie in the second quarter, and the Buffaloes went on to score the next six points as well to move ahead by nine, but Sublette had the lead whittled back down to one by the end of the first half, as the score was within three points at the end of each respective period. Meade, who is coming off a state football championship, once again moved ahead by six in the fourth quarter after back-to-back blocks by Randy Friesen led to a fastbreak assist from Kellan Hernandez to Cordes, who led Meade with 13 points, to make it 42-36. The Larks hung around thanks to the persistent dribble penetration of Travis Leverett, who made 10 field goals and led all scorers with 21 points, but they were doomed by poor free-throw shooting as they went 4-for-12 and came up three points short of the Buffaloes.

Back in girls’ action, Cimarron used solid perimeter shooting to upend Meade. They made five 3-pointers, three of which were in the game’s first 11 minutes, to take a 13-7 lead. The Buffaloes immediately went on a 9-0 run, though, and took the lead when a steal by Landry Cordes led to a fastbreak basket by Kinzie Friesen. Meade went on to lead 19-15 at halftime and still had the game tied 24-24 in the third quarter after a 3-point play by Landry Cordes, who led all scorers with 17 points, but an ensuing 3-pointer by Lindsay Wehkamp gave Cimarron the lead for good. Avery Burns led the Blue Jays with 16 points, and she and Wehkamp each made a pair of trifectas.

In the other boys’ semifinal, an outsized Cimarron team hung with heavily-favored South Gray for most of the game. Despite having only two players over six feet tall compared to South Gray’s nine such players, Cimarron trailed by only one point at the end of the first quarter, and that was after a 3-point play by the Rebels’ Ronald Martens, who scored all nine of his team’s points in the period and went on to lead all scorers with 16. The Blue Jays still trailed by only four at the half after Tyler Siek corralled a bad pass between the circled, turned, an heaved in a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the Cimarron offense went cold in the third quarter, scoring only three points and allowing South Gray to pull away. Genare Woofter led Cimarron with seven points.

The Cimarron boys will now move to the third-place game against Sublette, which will be played at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The girls’ third-place game will be at 3 p.m. and feature Meade against South Gray. All games for first and third place will be in the new gymnasium at Cimarron.

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