Dighton overcomes slow start, advances to sub-state finals
By Rod Haxton, editor
As Amy Felker and her Dighton High School girls entered the locker room at halftime of their sub-state semi-finals game, she glanced at the scoreboard.
It reaffirmed what she already knew. It had been a miserable offensive half for the Lady Hornets.
They had scored just one field goal - a total of five points.
But there was no panic.
Trailing Palco just 7-5, this game was still up for grabs.
“I wasn’t real worried. I kept thinking we’d get it together,” says Felker. “(Palco) couldn’t do anything offensively either so they were never able to pull away from us.”
The difference, says Felker, was that she knew the mistakes her team made in the first half could be corrected.
Part of it was nerves. But the bigger factor in the lack of offensive production was an inability to execute the simple plays.
“Their weak side girl kept double-teaming our post (Leslie Speer) and that left our backside girl wide open,” Felker says.
Perhaps too wide open.
“We had so many wide open shots that the girls were surprised. They kept traveling and making turnovers that cost us scoring opportunities,” Felker says. “We felt that once we had a chance to talk about things at halftime and calm everyone down we’d be okay.”
DHS (14-7) took control of the game in the third period with a 15-2 scoring blitz and pulled away to a 37-21 win which puts them into the Class 1A-Division II sub-state finals on Saturday against Natoma.
Junior forward Shambrey Budd was the offensive catalyst for the Lady Hornets with a game high 15 points (5-of-13 FG) to go along with five rebounds.
“She got the ball on the backside elbow and either shot it or attacked the basket. She got us going in the second half,” says the head coach.
While Speer was held to just eight points (2-of-7 FG), she pulled down 10 rebounds.
“In the second half the girls started seeing the openings and we got into our game offensively,” Felker says. “And we continued to play well defensively.”
The Lady Hornets limited Palco to just nine points through three quarters and Palco’s 21 total points was well below their season average of 46.6 points per game.
“In the first half we stood around too much,” Felker says. “Probably nine of our 11 offensive rebounds came in the second half. That led to some easy baskets.”
Shutting down Natoma senior guard Danica Casey will be a major objective for the Lady Hornets if they hope to advance into next week’s state tournament in Hays. Casey is 40-of-120 from beyond the three-point line.
“She’s capable of stepping two feet behind the three-point. She’s a very, very good shooter,” Felker says.
D. Casey is averaging 18.8 points per game and her freshman sister, Regan, is averaging 15 points.
“Our plan is to play them tight man-to-man and, hopefully, get them frustrated,” Felker adds. “If our defense shows up again, I like our chances.”
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