By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
STAFFORD – It was over from the opening tip on Friday as the Elyria Christian girls dominated every phase of the game against Stafford and scored a dominating 38-point, 58-20, win in their Class 1A Division II sub-state matchup.
With the victory, Elyria is now 13-6 for the season and will tangle with Hutchinson Central Christian on Saturday for the opportunity to go to the state tournament. Central Christian won their game on Friday, beating Chase 53-28 as they improved to 17-2 on the season. Central Christian is currently ranked number four and Elyria number 10 in Class 1A Division II.
“I am happy for our girls to get the opportunity to play in the championship game,” pointed out Lady Eagle head coach Greg Fields. “We were missing one of our starters due to illness, so I was curious to see how our kids would respond tonight. I thought we did an excellent job keeping them in front of us on defense and getting them sped up in the first half. Stafford has some kids that play really hard, and they can hit some shots when left open, as we found in the second half.”
Since the Lady Eagles had a bye in the first round, the game was their first played in 10 days as they showed no rust by jumping on Stafford for a 24-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. By the time the game hit the halftime break, Elyria had opened their lead up to 36, 42-6 before Stafford finally hit some three pointers in the third quarter to drop their deficit to just 31, 49-18, after three quarters.
Stafford scored all their points from the field from beyond the three-point line as they shot just 17% for the night from the field while the Lady Eagles drilled 50% of their field shots. Elyria also dominated in the paint, out rebounding Stafford 31-10 while also forcing their offense into making 22 turnovers. In the paint, 10 Lady Eagles recorded rebounds in the game.
Ryland Hawkinson had a huge night for the Lady Eagles, leading everyone in scoring with 21 points. She also grabbed four rebounds, blocked a shot, and led the team in steals with four. No other Lady Eagle hit double digits in scoring as 11 total girls put points by their name in the scorebook.
KiLynn Starburg led the work on the boards with eight rebounds while also dishing out three assists, as did Mina Aroum and Macy Reiff.
Coach Fields concluded his post-game reflections by saying, “We knew that Ryland (Hawkinson) would have another big night tonight, and she came through for us. It has been a lot of fun to watch her grow into her athleticism this season. The game has slowed down for her, and she has a lot of different ways to take advantage of mismatches. I was also glad to see everyone get in the scorebook tonight as we were very balanced offensively and on the boards.”
SCORING: 1 2 3 4 FINAL
LADY EAGLES 24 18 7 9 58
Stafford 0 6 12 2 20
Stafford Team Stats: FG 5/29; 3-PTR 5/18; FT 5/10; AST 0; REBS 10; TO 22; STL 2; BLK 2; PF 9.
ELYRIA CHRISTIAN LADY EAGLES TEAM STATS: FG 26/52; 3-PTR 1/8; FT 5/13; AST 15; REBS 31; TO 10; STL 14; BLK 3; PF 11.
ELYRIA CHRISTIAN LADY EAGLES INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: Scoring (58 total points): Ryland Hawkinson – 21; Julia Allen – 6; Allie Stone – 5; Alexus Swenson – 5; KiLynn Starburg – 5; Mina Aroum – 4; Addison Swenson – 4; Olivia Clark – 3; Macy Reiff – 2; Raegan Hawkinson – 2; Hannah Froese – 1. 3-Pointers Made (1): Al. Swenson -1. Assists: Starburg, Aroum, Reiff – 3; Ry. Hawkinson, Clark – 2. Rebounds: Starburg – 8; Reiff – 5; Ry. Hawkinson, Allen – 4; Clark – 3; Stone, Hannah Froese – 2. Steals: Ry. Hawkinson – 4; Stone – 3; Reiff, Ra. Hawkinson – 2. Blocked Shots: Ry. Hawkinson, Clark, Froese – 1.