Wildcat girls defeat Crest in substate showdown

Marmaton Valley High's girls broke open a close game in the third quarter and did just enough to stay in control down the stretch in a 37-30 win Friday over Crest. The win comes in the first round of the substate playoffs.



February 26, 2024 - 2:20 PM

Crest High’s Kayla Hermreck, foreground, looks to get by Marmaton Valley High defender Janae Granere Friday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

COLONY — The last time these two rivals took the floor against each other three weeks earlier, Marmaton Valley High’s girls had an early lead over Crest, but stumbled down the stretch and the Lady Lancers pulled out a hard-fought victory.

This time, the Wildcats had the answer.

Marmaton Valley broke open Friday’s Class 1A Substate Tournament opener by scoring the first nine points of the third quarter to take the lead for good.

Crest mounted a challenge down the stretch, closing to within four points early in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats made the winning plays at the end to prevail, 37-30.

The victory moves Marmaton Valley (14-6) into the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday against host and top-seeded Flinthills. The winner will face either Olpe (16-4) or Madison/Hamilton (15-5) on Saturday for a berth in next week’s state tournament.

“I knew this would be tough,” Marmaton Valley head coach Becky Carlson said. “We got some shots to fall. We played really hard. So did they.”

Marmaton Valley head coach Becky Carlson delivers instructions during the Wildcats’ Class 1A-I Substate Tournament showdown with Crest Friday.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

The Wildcats and Lancers split their first two showdowns of the season. The Wildcats cruised to a win at the War on 54 Midseason Tournament in January, before Crest got its payback in their rematch on Feb. 1, as part of the Lady Lancers’ undefeated romp through the Three Rivers League portion of its schedule.

Friday’s rubber match started, as expected, as a back-and-forth affair throughout the first half, although neither team was able to get much traction offensively.

The score was knotted at 10-10 after the first quarter, and Crest led 14-13 until the Wildcats’ Piper Barney scored just before the halftime buzzer to give MV a 15-14 lead.

It may have been a sign of things to come.

Marmaton Valley’s Maria Forero scored twice to start the third quarter, the first on a 3-pointer; the second a drive, to push the lead to 20-14. Payton Scharff was next for the Wildcats with a shot from the lane before Janae Granere — who had missed the Wildcats’ two previous games with an ankle injury — scored on a layup to push the margin to 10 points for the first time.

Cursten Allen snapped Crest’s 5½-minute scoring drought with a bucket, but Granere answered with another layup and free throw to push the Wildcats up 27-16 in the waning seconds.

The Lady Lancers didn’t go down without a fight.

Crest called off its zone defense in favor of a more intense man-to-man strategy, and promptly scored six straight points.

Kayla Hermreck, in her final game for the Lady Lancers, started the run with a pair of free throws. Karlee Boots then opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back buckets to slice Marmaton Valley’s lead to 27-23.

A chance to cut the gap even further fizzled, however, when both teams lost the ball on traveling calls.

Then, with Crest’s press amped up to an 11, Marmaton Valley opted for a pass over the top to a streaking Barney, who scored on a layup to push the Wildcats ahead, 29-23.

Crest’s Kinley Edgerton gave the Lady Lancers a charge when she blocked Granere under the basket and retained possession of the ball, but Granere returned the favor by stealing the ball at the defensive end.