BAXTER SPRINGS - A win against the Columbus Lady Titans and the Lady Lions would have had a chance to share the first place championship in the CNC League. The Lady Titans won the first match-up 62-52, and squeezed by in the Lancer Classic tournament 48-44. The third time was no different as Columbus pulled out the win 42-38. Three games by a total of 18 points.
All having a 4-2 record in the league; Columbus, Girard, and Galena will share the league championship. This is the first time Galena (15-5) has had a championship title since the 1974-75 season. This is the first time Columbus has had a share in the CNC. They won three titles when they were a member of the SEK League. Galena had the championship lead by themselves until they lost their last two games. A 36-34 loss to Columbus, and a 52-50 loss to St. Mary’s-Colgan of Pittsburg.
As the final score indicated, the Baxter Springs/Columbus game stayed close in the first half. Morgan Cassidy started the game with a 3-pointer, and Abbey Underhill hit a short jumper for the Lady Lions. Kassity Shafer put Baxter Springs at four. Columbus went up 8-4 with a basket by Nahil Fontanez, and another score by Cassidy. Delaney Barnes made three or four free throws. Fontenez ended the opening period 10-7.
The Lady Lions took a 14-13 lead towards the end of the first half. Karsyn Youngblood hit one of two free throws for Columbus, and Brylee Rice had a basket to tie game at 11. Fontenez scored, but Underhill connected from long range to bring the Lady Lions back on top 14-13. At the buzzer from the three quarter stripe Cassidy did a heave. A swish for Columbus to go into the locker room up 16-14.
The long 3-pointer made a difference later in the game. Youngblood and Macy Gray scored seven and six points in the third period, as they outscored Baxter Springs 17-8 in the third. Barnes had two free throws, and field goal. Underhill and Rice each had two.
Columbus had a 13-6 run at the end of the third, and the start of the fourth after Fontenez’s two free throws. Now it was time for the Lady Lions to start their own run. Barnes scored, and Youngblood hit one of two free throws. Underhill hit another trey, Shafer scored, and Underhill scored twice more to bring Baxter Springs down only 36-33 with 3:48 remaining.
Youngblood made the score 38-33. Underhill scored for her 21st point of the game. Shafer hit one of two free throws. With 1:10 left in the game the score 38-36. Remember the long shot by Cassidy at the half? Riley Haraughty scored for Columbus, her only points of the game, and Gray brought the Lady Titans to 42. At the final buzzer, Barnes’ field goal finished Baxter Springs scoring.
Only four Lady Lions figured in the scorebook. Underhill led both teams in scoring, and had two steals, and a blocked shot. Barnes finished with 11 points, two blocked shots, and five rebounds. Shafer pulled five boards, had two blocked shots, and scored six. Freshman Rice led the Lady Lions in rebounding with six, and added six points.
For the Lady Titans, Youngblood and Cassidy each had 11 points. Fontenez had 10 points, and Gray eight.
With the regular season finished, it’s now time for the Kansas sub-state to be held in Columbus on Thursday. Number one Galena (15-5) will face Baxter Springs (11-9). Galena has so far this season won the two matches against Baxter Springs 49-39, and 51-38. Parsons beat the Lady Lions in the Lancer Classic 60-48, and will face Columbus. This will be a tough sub-state as all four teams have winning records.