AFTON - Using nearly identical scripts to get to the same conclusion, the Colcord girls and the Kansas boys rolled over a pair of quality opponents in Thursday's semifinal round of Afton 's 24th Annual Coca Cola Basketball Classic.
In the day's opening contest, the Lady Hornets delivered a metaphorical ‘standing 8 count' in the first quarter followed by ‘knock downs' in the second and third on the way to their third consecutive victory.
Getting some outstanding work from Shelley Swicegood and Kindle Spry on the inside and Jordan Pike on the outside, the Colcord offense pretty much lit up the Lady Wildcats from wire to wire.
In the early going, Quapaw endeavored to trap on defense. But Colcord was able to use their superior team speed to break the press, allowing Swicegood to put in three easy buckets. When the Lady Wildcats tried to put pressure in the middle, Jordan Pike popped a pair of treys, frustrating the Quapaw defense, on the way to a 17-point opening stanza.
The Lady Hornets, however, committed a half a dozen turnovers that allowed their opponents to eventually score 12.
The second quarter belonged to Spry, who in addition to hauling in three rebounds, picked up eight points and a steal, in route to another double-double performance. Emily Farris picked up a pair of boards and joined Pike with a three-pointer each as Colcord outscored the Lady Wildcats 18-10.
Leading by a baker's dozen coming out of the halftime break, the Lady Hornets literally put the game away in the third quarter. Dominating the boards by a 12-4 margin, Colcord got another pair of treys from Pike on the way to her game-high 16 points. The Hornet defense allowed only a single Quapaw bucket, on 10 attempts, for the commanding 48-24 lead. The final frame was played out by the respective benches, as Colcord took home the resounding win.
The Lady Hornets will play Oklahoma Union in a rematch of last year's championship game, at 6:30 tonight at Afton High School.
The final match of the evening's four-game card featured the Kansas and Afton boys, and the Comets came out swinging. Knocking down 8-of-10 from within and 1-of-2 from outside the arc as a team, Kansas almost ran away with things early.
Brody Kendrick scored six, to go with four and five points each from Johnny Lewis and Corey Cowan, respectively, for most of their team's 19 points.
Defensively, Kansas held the home team scoreless until Brennon Fuser's three-pointer at the midway point of the first. Fuser would account for all of the Eagles' opening period offense with another trey late in the quarter.
With a 19-6 margin, the Comets might have lost a little focus, as they turned the ball over five times in the second quarter and only scored nine points. But their defense continued to make life rough for Afton by not allowing a bucket from the floor over the first six minutes of the period. By the time the first half had concluded, four Eagles got together to score just eight points. The Comets led 28-14 at halftime.
The Comets delivered the game's coup de grace in the third, when Cowan poured in eight of his game-high 14 to go with six more by Lewis. Defensively, Kansas harassed their opponents into committing six more turnovers and allowed only a solo trey and a pair of deuces over the entire third.
Leading by 21 to start the final chapter, the Comets were able to eventually put every player on their roster in to the game. As a result, they got a big effort from sophomore Casey Armbrister. The hustling 10th grader added half of his game's dozen points and three boards in the final eight minutes. Add to that two points apiece from Austin Catcher, Brett Odle, Jared Lamont and Jon Lee in the fourth and the Comets punched their ticket to the tournament final, besting Afton soundly 57-34.
The Comets will look to complete their quest for a second straight Coca-Cola Classic championship when they take on Quapaw in tonight's final at 8:00 at Afton High School.