By Camden McFarland
St. Paul’s Lady Indians continued to march through the KSHSAA Class 1A-I State Tournament after an impressive performance against Kensington-Thunder Ridge Friday, March 9.
From the start, it was apparent that St. Paul adapted to the state atmosphere by eliminating their sluggish demeanor seen in game one.
However, the Lady Indians quickly realized that to control the competitive Thunder Ridge, mistakes could not be made.
Despite struggling with turnovers, St. Paul tied the game at 11 points after a last-second three-point shot by Sydney Rice.
St. Paul stepped up the intensity in the second quarter to outscore Thunder Ridge 16-6 and establish a clear lead. Again, Rice finished the quarter with a last-second shot to give the Lady Indians a two-point jump.
After halftime, Thunder Ridge came out determined to shut down St. Paul’s offense, but the Lady Indians were not ready to back down.
St. Paul only managed to score four in the third quarter, but they held on to their lead by allowing only six points on defense.
Thunder Ridge came dangerously close to taking the lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but St. Paul persevered to take the victory with a score of 42-34.
In addition to having two buzzer-beaters, St. Paul’s Rice continued to shine with 18 individual points overall. Katelin O’Brien was close behind with 16 points of her own.
Regarding the victory, Coach Doug Tuck said, “We came out a little more relaxed than last night and did a better job of running our offense and knocking down shots. This was an overall good team effort.”
Advancing to the state championship, St. Paul will come face to face with Hanover.
As the number four seed, Hanover’s first two games consisted of close victories over Frankfort and Coldwater-South Central with scores of 50-47 and 54-46, respectively.
These victories moved Hanover’s record to 20-3 while St. Paul’s record stands at 23-2.
This extremely competitive matchup is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at the FHSU-Gross Memorial Coliseum.