An excitement had built itself within the Moundridge players and fans when they stood just three points behind the top-seeded Jefferson County North Chargers after one quarter.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, sharp shooting guard Jacee Kramer caught fire in the second quarter and couldn’t be stopped.
Behind 23 points from Kramer on 8-16 shooting, Jefferson County North (23-defeated Moundridge (21-4) in the first of Friday’s girls semifinals.
The Chargers will advance to play Smith Center (23-2) in today’s 4:00 p.m. championship game.
“She’s one of the best players in the state that I’ve seen,” Moundridge head coach Kenroy Wilson said of Kramer’s game. “She’s determined and athletic. She can jump, she rebounds and she has a nose for the ball. She’s always around the ball if it’s loose. She’s got it all.”
Knowing they’d have to keep it close to stay with the Chargers offensive pace, Moundridge was unable to convert on the offensive end and the Chargers took over.
“We knew we’d need to keep it tight,” Wilson said. “I was hoping that if we’d keep it tight, they haven’t been in any close ones and maybe they’d get tight themselves. They just got too many early transition points in the first half.”
The transition game of the Chargers kept the Wildcats on their heels, forcing them to play from behind for a majority of the contest.
“They would release two players at times in transition,” Wilson said. “We told our kids to get back but we traditionally pressure on a missed shot so it’s hard to get them to get back and they hurt us.”
Moundridge struggled to find its offensive game, finishing at 37.8 percent and shooting 17-45 from the field.
Freshman Ashley Holler provided a punch for the Wildcats off the bench, scoring all five of her baskets in the paint and finished with 11 points in the game.
“They got out in passing lanes and they put some ball pressure on us,” Wilson said. “We were able to get to the paint on a drive and I thought we could, and Ashley Holler really had a great game finding the paint on the drive. They play good defense and you’re going to have to earn your points.”
Now preparing to face Sterling in today’s 12:00 p.m. third-place game, Wilson said a quick adjustment from the semifinal loss is important.
“This one hurt us,” Wilson said. “You want it to hurt when you lose because these girls have worked so hard and have come so far this year. We didn’t quite reach our goal but I told them when we walk out that locker room door, we have to leave it behind.”
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