Another date at state will have to wait
The final seconds of regulation of Saturday's Class 4A substate championship between the Tonganoxie and Sumner girls felt like a rewind of last year's championship game between the two powerhouses.
Last year, Tonganoxie's Ali Pistora hit a jumper in the final seconds that forced the game into overtime.
This year, Pistora's basket from underneath the goal again tied the game in the closing minutes
Last season, Tonganoxie erupted in overtime for a 56-44 victory that sent the Chieftains to the state tournament.
If only Tonganoxie could have had an extra period on Saturday on the Sabres' home court in Kansas City, Kan.
With 6.7 seconds left in regulation, Sumner had to take the ball the length of the court. Sabres standout Marisah Henderson had the ball in the final seconds. She drove the line and put up a shot. It missed, but she was fouled -- with three-tenths of a second left on the clock.
"She dribbled just a little further down the floor than we wanted," THS coach Randy Kraft said.
Henderson made the first free throw and purposely missed the second as time ran out on the Chieftains.
No. 2 seeded Sumner won, 53-52, and advanced to the state tournament in Salina.
Top-seeded Tonganoxie ended its season at 21-2.
It appeared that the official blew his whistle with 1.5 seconds left in regulation, but after THS coaches pleaded with officials to put time back on the clock, less than a second remained on the clock.
"There's not a lot you can do with that," THS coach Randy Kraft said about the remaining time.
Tonganoxie was on fire in the first half. The Chieftains built a 13-point lead in the second quarter, 28-15, thanks to a Sumner drought in which the Sabres missed 17 straight shots.
With Tonganoxie leading by 13, one side of the Sumner bleachers, filled primarily in Chieftain red, cheered with much fervor as chances appeared good Tonganoxie could make a second straight state appearance.
Sumner, though, responded with a 5-0 run at the end of the second quarter and trailed, 28-20, at the half. In the third quarter, Sumner rallied with a 14-6 run and forged a tie at 34.
A Henderson three-pointer tied the game, but Tonganoxie's Shannon Carlin answered with a three of her own as THS again had the lead at 37-34. Moments later, at the 3:10 mark of the third quarter, Sumner took the lead for the first time since early in the game. Trailing 38-37, Tonganoxie moved back on top with Tracie Hileman's two free throws.
The see-saw battle continued as a Sumner buzzer-beater put the Sabres up, 40-39, heading into the final quarter.
Midway through the fourth, Sumner increased its lead to five at 47-42.
Another three-pointer, this time by senior Kelley Stauch, closed the gap to 47-44. With 37.1 seconds left, Stauch again made a clutch basket, a two-pointer that made the score, 51-50, in Sumner's favor.
But the late rally wasn't to be, and Tonganoxie ended its season at 21-2, while Sumner improved to 20-3.
Sumner earned a No. 3 seed and will play No. 6 Kingman (18-5) at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in the state quarterfinals in Salina.
If Tonganoxie would have defeated Sumner, the Chieftains would have been the No. 1 seed with just one loss. Instead, Labette County, at 21-2, earned the top spot.
Tonganoxie finished the substate championship with five three-pointers -- Carlin had three, Stauch two and Pistora 1. Carlin and Pistora each scored 13, while Hileman had nine. Rachel Bogard finished with seven, and Rebecca Bogard and Stauch each with five.
Although the Chieftains fell a game shy of state, THS did finish as Kaw Valley League champions for the third consecutive season. And, in the last two years, the Chieftains have finished undefeated in league play.
"What a fun team they were," THS coach Randy Kraft said. "Just like tonight, they left everything on the floor."
Tonganoxie looks to be back in the hunt for a state appearance again next year as Stauch is the only senior graduating.
She said the locker room provided an emotional scene after the defeat.
"A lot of sniffles, crying and hugging was going on," Stauch said.
Stauch, hit a last-second three-pointer at the end of regulation in the state semifinals last year against Buhler. The shot sent the game into overtime when THS eventually fell.
Although Stauch and her teammates won't be playing again this week at state, she was proud of her team -- and the coaching staff, particularly Kraft.
"I couldn't pick a better coach," Carlin said. "He teaches you so much. He's so good."
Tonganoxie dodged a sizable orange and black bullet Thursday in the substate semifinals.
Bonner Springs led throughout much of the first half and then went into a stall offense in the second half.
Kelley Stauch put Tonganoxie up, 34-32, with 17 seconds left in the game.
With five seconds left, Bonner Springs called timeout and drew up one last play -- a three-pointer.
In the first meeting this season, a late foul call sent THS to the foul line and helped the Chieftains win a nail-biter against the Braves.
On Thursday, it was Bonner Springs' turn to sink late free throws.
Bonner Springs shot a final three. It was a miss -- the Braves shooter was fouled.
With a chance to either win or tie at the free-throw line, she missed all three.
After being fouled, the Chieftains made two more free throws and escaped with the victory.
Sumner 53, Tonganoxie 52
Score by quarters
Sumner 12 8 20 13 -- 53
Tonganoxie 16 12 11 13 -- 52
Sumner -- Carroll 12, White 6, Johnson 11, Mitchell 1, Henderson 14, Mozingo 4, Dodds 5.
Tonganoxie -- Carlin 13, Ra. Bogard 7, Pistora 13, Re. Bogard 5, Stauch 5, Hileman 9.
Tonganoxie 36, Bonner Springs 32
Score by quarters
Bonner Springs 5 6 15 6 -- 32
Tonganoxie 7 8 7 14 -- 36
Bonner Springs -- Crouch 3, Starks 6, Leipard 3, Dellavio 3, Johnson 11, Stanborough 4, Lane 2.
Tonganoxie -- Hileman 5, Weller 2, Pistora 7, Carlin 5, Stauch 5, Re. Bogard 6, Ra. Bogard 6.