Lady Tornadoes Concluded Season At 3A State Tournament
In their first ever trip to the KSHAA State Tournament, the Eureka Lady Tornadoes faced the Panthers of Hoyt-Royal Valley on Wednesday, March 6, at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson.
The first quarter left the Tornadoes fighting from behind as they allowed 14 points. Senior Brooklyn Hilton sunk a three pointer and three other Lady Tornadoes chipped in a basket to keep the game within five points, trailing 9-14, at the end of the first.
Hoyt-Royal Valley came out firing in the second quarter. Despite a trey by sophomore Chazni Ptacek, the Panthers shot an unreal 80% from behind the arc and they extended the lead to 23 headed into the locker room at halftime.
“We rolled the dice and lost,” said Coach Shelly Hoyt. “The Albright girl averaged 1.2 points a game so we decided to guard their best players and make her beat us and she did. Hats off to her.”
Hoyt-Royal Valley’s offensive transitioned to the paint in the second half. Scoring 16 points in the paint and adding another three, the Tornadoes struggled to slow the offensive roll of the Panthers. Sophomore Madelyne Koop answered with six paint points of her own to send the Lady Tornadoes into the final quarter trailing 27-49.
“Their big girl was pretty impressive, we sure didn’t help ourselves but she was a good, strong player,” Hoyt said. “Overall, they are a solid team with state tournament experience and that’s hard to overcome. No team wants to end the season with a loss but by late Saturday night, all but two will and a whole bunch of kids will head home with their dreams dashed.”
Despite an effort of all out hustle, the Tornadoes couldn’t close the gap in the fourth quarter. Their incredible season came to an end losing 36-56 to Hoyt-Royal Valley. Hoyt-Royal Valley would go on to win the State Championship game.
Sisters Chazni and Brooklyn Ptacek led the Tornadoes in field goal percentage shooting 4-5 and 3-4 from the field, scoring 10 and 6 respectively. Koop tallied 11 points while pulling down an impressive 12 rebounds. B. Hilton added five points while dishing out a team-high of five assists. Junior Emilee Escareno snatched five steals while adding two baskets.
“The game hurts, everyone should love an activity so much that it hurts, but it’s not going to hurt like this forever. It’s not the outcome we wanted but honestly, that team was better than our team. At least for that day. Hopefully, in the future, it will be our team that’s the better team. Our team reached for a dream and fell short, but I know our players will pick the ball back up very soon, head back to the gym, and work hard to keep our dream alive,” Hoyt said. “As for our seniors, Kylie, Tara, and Brooklyn, we are thankful for all they’ve given us. They led their team to their first state basketball tournament appearance and no one can ever take that away from them,” stated Hoyt. “In fact, this entire team took us all on an incredible ride! Our team would like to express their appreciation to our amazing community for all their support! Our student athletes are blessed and spoiled by our families and community,” she concluded.