Blackhawks top WiLdKats to advance to Class B semis
HURON — It took a quarter for the Sanborn Central/Woonsocket girls’ basketball team to work the kinks out Thursday night in its state quarterfinal game.
But for the final three quarters, the Blackhawks were in full gear, cruising to a double-digit lead at halftime and pulling away for a 54-27 victory over Kimball/White Lake in the Class B state tournament at the Huron Arena.
SC/W co-head coach Tim McCain said his players may have had the early jitters but managed to put that behind them to take control of the game.
“The first game is always a tough one, so you understand that there’s going to be some of that,” he said. “I thought our girls did a good job of putting that past them and focusing on what they had to do.”
The teams played evenly through the first eight minutes, with K/WL closing the gap to just two points before the horn, thanks to a buzzer-beating basket from Ivy Haines to cut the Blackhawk advantage to 12-10.
It was the second quarter where the third-seeded Blackhawks (23-1) flexed their muscles and they can thank Myah Selland for that. She scored 11-of-13 her points in the second quarter, hitting from both inside and outside and giving the WiLdKats fits. By the time the teams were in the locker rooms, the Blackhawks had a 14-point halftime lead, 27-13.
“We were certainly experiencing some nerves, but we all just sort of calmed down and focused on what we had to do. We know we’re a good enough team to overcome that,” Selland said.
But the momentum tapered off for the WiLdKats, who made four field goals in the first half and shot 50 percent from the line. The combinations of defenses K/WL threw at the Blackhawks didn’t seem to make a difference.
“It seemed like we would take one thing away and they’d have someone else to go to. We’d take that away and they would have a third option,” K/WL coach Tacey Nielson said. “We just couldn’t find an answer for everything they did.”
As is commonplace for the Blackhawks, it was the Selland show, as SC/W starts four players with the family name. Myah and Shelby are sisters and are first cousins with Rachel, who join their more distant cousin Morgan in the first five. The four combined for 41 of the Blackhawks’ 52 points on Thursday night, led by 14 points and eight rebounds from Rachel Selland.
“We don’t quite have telepathy but it’s kind of like that sometimes,” Rachel said of the family ties on the court. “We never dreamed that we would all be playing together on this big stage.”
Kimball/White Lake (15-8) was paced by Haines, who had 11 points, and a nine-point effort from senior guard Jazmyn Hinker. The WiLdKats meet Lyman in today’s consolation semifinal round at 1:45 p.m.
The victory earns SC/W a date with Hanson at 7:45 tonight, a rematch of a regular-season matchup earlier this year, which the Blackhawks won 56-49.
“They’re a great team and they have a lot of really talented players,” McCain said. “We’ve already played them this season, but we need to take care of ourselves and do what we’ve done all year.”
SANBORN CENT./WOONSOCKET 52, KIMBALL/WHITE LAKE 27
KWL (15-8): Kroupa 1-4 0-0 3, Haines 4-5 3-5 11, J.Hinker 3-13 2-4 9, W.Hinker 0-1 0-0 0, Steffan 1-5 0-1 2, Donald 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 10-33 5-10 27.
SCW (23-1): Vermuelen 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan 0-1 0-0 0, Weber 3-9 0-0 8, Mo.Selland 2-6 0-2 6, R.Selland 6-11 2-2 14, S.Selland 4-7 0-0 8, Swenson 0-1 2-2 2, My.Selland 6-9 0-0 13. Totals: 21-45 5-10 52.
KWL 10 13 20 27
SCW 12 27 35 52
3-pointers: KWL 2-10 (Kroupa 1-4, J.Hinker 1-3, W.Hinker 0-1, Steffan 0-1), SCW 5-13 (Weber 2-7, Mo.Selland 2-4, Swenson 0-1, My.Selland 101). Rebounds: KWL 21 (Haines 6), SCW 29 (R.Selland 8). Assists: KWL 4 (Haines 3), SCW 13 (R.Selland 4). Total fouls: KWL 12, SCW 14.
A meaningful finish
The end of the game provided for a couple of emotional moments for the Blackhawks. Freshman Tanna Kingsbury and senior Kelbi Dean each entered the game in the final minutes and each have taken a long, winding road to the state tournament.
Kingsbury has been battling cancer for the last year and was deemed cancer-free by doctors last week. Dean has suffered a couple of severe concussions and only played a handful of games earlier this season before being sidelined. As both players took the court in the season’s most meaningful game yet, it provided for a proud moment for fans of both teams, who stood and applauded as the players took the court.
“She’s been such an inspiration to all of us and she’s gone through way more than any of us could ever imagine,” Myah Selland said of Kingsbury.
Similar words of graciousness came from McCain about Dean.
“She’s had a bunch of unfortunate accidents that have kept her off the court and she hasn’t had many opportunities,” he said. “We’re blessed to have had this tonight.”