Golden Plains girls able to grind out win
By CONOR NICHOLL
WINONA -- The Rexford-Golden Plains and Triplains-Brewster High School girls' basketball teams played within four points in the first three quarters. Golden Plains was either tied or trailed midway through the second quarter and all third quarter.
At times, Bulldog coach Parker Christensen turned to assistant Steve Shaw and asked if Golden Plains should change anything. Shaw said to maintain the course since Golden Plains remained close.
Then the Bulldogs fell down by five points with 7 minutes, 47 seconds left in the contest, the game's biggest deficit. Golden Plains decided to alter its scheme. The Bulldogs scored four straight points, eventually tied the game at 29, and won 33-30 in the final seconds at Triplains High School on Friday night.
"A little bit better transition defense -- we switched to man for a few possessions and made them take a timeout, which might have benefited us at the end when (the Titans) didn't have one," Golden Plains coach Parker Christensen said.
Golden Plains, ranked No. 8 in Class 1A Division II, moved to 5-2 and won its third straight contest. Triplains-Brewster, fourth in the classification, dropped to 6-1. Friday was the first of possibly four matchups between the two teams this winter. They could meet agains in the league tournament this week.
"It should have been ours, but hopefully we will get them in league next week if we play them -- which I am sure that we will," Triplains-Brewster junior Shayna Rogge said.
"It's a friendly rivalry, but this is definitely a team that we wanted to beat," Titan senior point guard Brittany Plummer added.
Golden Plains moved to 8-0 against Triplains-Brewster in the last three-plus years. Last year, the Bulldogs beat the Titans three times, including the sub-state championship. Golden Plains hasn't lost a Western Kansas Liberty League contest since Feb. 2, 2011 to Wallace County.
Last season, Golden Plains ran off 20 straight victories after the season-opening Quinter tournament. This season, the Bulldogs went 1-2 at Quinter, but have defeated two ranked teams in the three-game winning streak.
"I think it's just in our heads when we go over to Quinter," Bulldog senior Jordan Christensen said. "They are bigger schools. We have never played in the championship there. I think it's just in our minds that we are not going to come out on top. I think once we get into regular season, we get our flow going better."
The teams combined for 40 turnovers, but Golden Plains held a 45-28 edge on the glass. The squads combined for 0 of 11 from 3-point range.
"We just know each other and things you want to do are a little harder to do and you've just got to play smart and value the ball," Coach Christensen said. "They had some turnovers, we had some turnovers, but it's two even teams."
Christensen led Golden Plains with 13 points on 4 of 17 shooting, but tallied 10 rebounds and had five critical points in the final 2 minutes, 3 seconds. Senior Hailee Spresser finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
"The last several years we have really rebounded the ball well," Coach Christensen said. "The last several years, we've spent a lot of time in practice on it, and then letting the girls know the value of it. They may get an open shot, but let's not give them a second shot at the basket."
Golden Plains led 10-8 after the first quarter and the game was 15-15 at halftime. Triplains-Brewster, which was paced by 15 points and 11 rebounds from Rogge, took a 21-19 lead into the final quarter. Plummer, recruited by several NCAA Division II schools, had five steals and two assists, but tallied just four points. All of her points came in the third quarter and she finished 2 of 11 shooting.
"It's hurt us that we haven't had a game for so long," Triplains-Brewster coach Kent Gfeller said. "This is our first game back after Christmas and we just weren't as crisp. She threw three or four bad passes when we should have had layups. She didn't hit her little jump shot that she usually hits. They played good defense on her and didn't give her the 3. She has been shooting the 3 real good the last few games."
At the start of the fourth quarter, Triplains-Brewster pushed the lead to 24-19 in the first 13 seconds on a conventional 3-point play from junior Dara Roulier.
Then, Golden Plains changed its approach and forced six straight missed shots.
"He always does that on me," Gfeller said. "We handled it better tonight than we normally do."
With 6:15 left, Triplains-Brewster had committed seven fouls, Golden Plains just three.
"Just changing things up. We worked as much man this week as we did zone," Coach Christensen said.
With 2:03 left, Christensen tied the game at 29. With 84 seconds left, Christensen stole a Plummer pass. Triplains-Brewster senior C.J. Lewallen collided with Christensen, who made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Bulldogs the lead. Rogge had a chance to tie the game, but missed her front end of a 1-and-1.
"Playing these four years -- starting all four years -- definitely the experience helps me out," Christensen said. "You've just got to block everyone out and step up."
Christensen and sophomore Kami Miller made three more foul shots in the final minute. As the final buzzer sounded, coach Christensen pumped his fist several times to celebrate the gritty win.
Golden Plains 33, Triplains-Brewster 30
Golden Plains (5-2)
Jordan Christensen 4-17 5-7 13, Lobato 2-3 0-0 4, Spresser 4-14 0-2 8, Miller 2-8 1-4 5, Walz 1-2 0-1 1, Rush 0-5 2-2 2, R. Ritter 0-1 0-0 0. Totals - 12-49 9-17 33.
Shayna Rogge 6-15 3-5 15, Plummer 2-11 0-0 4, Barrie 1-6 1-2 3, Lewallen 0-7 0-0 0, Roulier 1-1 1-1 3, Lamb 2-2 1-1 5, Mays 0-2 0-0 0, Edwards 0-1 0-0 0. Totals - 12-45 6-9 30.
Golden Plains 10 5 4 14 - 33
Triplains-Brewster 8 7 6 9 - 30
3-point goals - Golden Plains 0-8; Triplains-Brewster 0-3. Fouls - Golden Plains 11, Triplains-Brewster 12. Technical fouls - none. Fouled out - Roulier, Triplans-Brewster. Rebounds - Golden Plains 45 (Spresser 11); Triplans-Brewster 28 (Rogge 11). Turnovers - Golden Plains 23, Triplains-Brewster 17.