By Staff

            DODGE CITY – In a season filled with achievements beyond expectations, the Canton/Galva girls 2022-23 season came to a heartbreaking end on Wednesday as they lost by eight points, 42-34, to top seeded Norwich in the Class 1A Division I State Tournament quarterfinals.

            With the loss the Lady Eagles finish the season 15-9, the best record for the program in 16 seasons when they finished 14-7 in 2006-07.

            “The girls played hard just like I knew they would,” explained Lady Eagle head coach Brad Willems. “We just did not play the way we had the last week and this one will sting because I truly believed we could have won this game.”

            Norwich took an early seven-point, 13-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and led by nine, 23-14 going into the halftime break. At one point the Lady Eagles pulled within two possessions a couple of times in the second half but were never able to close the gap, giving Norwich the final eight-point victory.

            Considering how Canton/Galva dished out seven assists on just 10 made shots from the field, team work was not an issue, but shooting was as the Lady Eagles only connected on 23% of all shots attempted from the field.

            The freshman duo of Adi Alcala and Trinity Espinoza led the Lady Eagle sin scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively as Alcala connected on three three-pointers. Trinity Espinoza led the team in rebounds with four while her sister Lili Espinoza and Mimi Craig, a pair of seniors, each grabbed four. Senior Brecken Pearson closed out her Canton/Galva career by leading the team defense with six steals.

            Coach Willems concluded his post-game, post-season reflections by saying, “I am very proud of how far we came this season. I love how hard we worked and all the effort we put into it! The girls did what I asked of them, I wanted them to compete – and they did. Our fan support was awesome again, the entire Canton/Galva community has just been amazing.”

(Lady Eagle seniors > Brecken Pearson, Mimi Craig, Sage Toews & Lili Espinoza)

            The coaching staff noted how grateful they were for the four seniors (Brecken Pearson, Lili Espinoza, Sage Toews, Mimi Craig) for helping build the foundation for the future of the Lady Eagle program.

            Looking ahead, Canton/Galva will build the 2023-24 team around the games leading scorers, Adi Alcala and Trinity Espinoza, who both had fabulous freshman seasons. They will team with fellow freshman Makinlee Hoppes, Emerson Hoppes, Jayden Orth, and Jordyn Elliot along with sophomore Red Craig to give coach Willems a solid foundation for the upcoming seasons.

CANTON/GALVA LADY EAGLES vs. Norwich at Class 1A Division 1 State Tournament – Quarterfinals

SCORING: LADY EAGLES > 6-8-8-12 = 34;  Norwich > 13-10-7-12 = 42.

LADY EAGLE TEAM STATS > 2-FGs – 5/23; 3-PTs – 5/21; FTs – 9/12; AST – 7; REBs – 25; TO – 9; STLs – 5; BLKs – 1; FLs – n/a.

LADY EAGLE INDIVIDUAL STATS: Scoring > Adi Alcala – 11; Trinity Espinoza – 10; Brecken Pearson – 7; Lili Espinoza – 4; Mimi Craig – 2.  3-Pointers Made > Alcala – 3; T. Espinoza, Pearson – 1.  Assists > L. Espinoza, Pearson – 2; Alcala, T. Espinoza, M. Craig – 1.  Rebounds > T. Espinoza – 5; L. Espinoza, M. Craig – 4; Sage Toews – 3; Alcala – 2; Pearson, Makinlee Hoppes – 1.  Steals > Pearson – 6; T. Espinoza – 3; L. Espinoza – 1.  Blocked Shots > M. Craig – 1.

(The Staff covering events for the MAC AREA SPORTS NEW can be reached by email at crossdovewriter@gmail.com)