HALSTEAD — The Halstead Dragon girls’ basketball team made a late run to down rival Hesston 47-34 Friday in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state tournament in Halstead.


The 19-3 Dragons, ranked seventh in the Class 3A coaches poll, reaches the sub-state final for just the third time in team history and will face another Central Kansas League rival in fifth-ranked Haven at 6 p.m. today.


“It’s just part of growing,” Halstead coach Derek Schutte said. “We’re playing all juniors and sometimes we’re just not in games like that. We’ll learn from it and definitely be better tomorrow.”


Halstead was led by Karenna Gerber with 18 points. Kaleigh O’Brien added 14.


“Kaleigh had some nice makes when Karenna was in foul trouble,” Schutte said. “Karenna was able to get some baskets inside in the second half. We just stuck with it and I’m proud of the girls. I believe this will be only the third sub-state final in Halstead girls’ history.”


“It took perseverance and a strong mindset to keep pushing through,” O’Brien said. “We had to push through it and finish the game.”


Schutte said the last time the team was in the finals was in 2008 or 2009.


Elise Kaiser led Hesston with 10 points. Anna Humphreys added eight.


“We just couldn’t hit the shots,” Hesston coach Matt Richardson said. “We had some turnovers in those possessions. We were down 35-32 and on a bit of a roll, but we just couldn’t finish it off.”


Halstead jumped out 10-2 in the first quarter. Humphreys hit one of two free throws with .4 seconds remaining in the quarter.


A Humphries 3-pointer and one of two Kaiser free throws were the only points of the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second quarter. Halstead replied with a 7-2 run. An O’Brien 3-point play with 3.3 seconds left in the half put Halstead up 22-14.


Halstead made a 7-2 run to open the third quarter. The Dragons led by as many as 13. Hesston ended the quarter on an 8-0 run aided by Halstead turnovers, cutting the Dragon lead to five, 33-28.


Gerber opened the fourth quarter with a layup, but Hesston replied with a Kaiser 3-pointer and one of two Humphreys free throws.


Halstead replied with a 7-0 run to get its lead back out to 10. The Dragons made a defensive stop and attempted to run out the clock. Josie Engel hit one of two free throws with 1:01 remaining to put the Dragons up by 11.


Hesston ends the season 15-7 and loses three seniors.


“We lose some good kids, but we have good kids coming back,” Richardson said.


Haven advanced to the finals with a 61-33 win over Southeast of Saline earlier in the day. Haven has two wins over Halstead this season – 34-27 in the semifinals of the Haven Invitational and 37-30 in league play. Both games were played in Haven.


“They are a great team,” Schutte said. “We played them twice already. It’s going to come down to who makes plays. It doesn’t hurt (playing at home). We’ve played at their place twice. In a game like this, we can learn from it. When you have a close game, learn from it and do better the next game. We’re going to have to defend them and rebound. (Faith) Paramore, we have to guard her everywhere on the floor. They have those three bigs. They have those big bodies. They will have a size advantage. We will have to rebound.”


HESSTON (15-7) — Yoder 3 2-3 3, 8; E.Kaiser 0 (2) 4-6 4, 10; Vogt 0 0-0 2, 0; Martin 1 0-0 5, 2; Humphreys 0 (1) 5-8 3, 8; Kueker 2 0-0 0, 4; Deegan 1 0-0 4, 2; TOTALS 7 (3) 11-17 21, 34.


HALSTEAD (19-3) — Lewis 0 0-1 3, 0; Heck 0 0-0 2, 0; Schroeder 1 2-4 3, 4; Gerber 7 4-5 3, 18; Kelley 0 (1) 0-0 2, 3; Engel 1 (1) 3-4 0, 8; O’Brien 3 (1) 5-7 3, 14; TOTALS 12 (3) 14-21 16, 47.


Hesston;3;11;14;6;—34


Halsted;10;12;11;14;—47