SALINA—Andover Central had a decision to make after the first quarter of Friday’s Class 4A Division I semifinal against Bishop Miege.
The Jaguars could roll over and quit or keep fighting.
They chose the latter option.
After being down 22 points in the second quarter, Andover Central fought back and nearly pulled off the comeback win, getting to within four points in the fourth quarter before the Stags’ Shelbe Piggie scored nine points in the final 90 seconds to push Miege into the championship game today at 6 p.m.
“When you get down 25-3 you can die and you can lay over,” Jaguar coach Stana Jefferson said. “But I thought we had some fight down the stretch. Then we missed free throws and they made free throws.”
Bishop Miege went 7-for-8 in the final two minutes from the foul line, with Andover Central’s only points in the final two minutes coming off a Skylar Snodgrass field goal and a Brooke Pedersen 3.
The Jaguars (19-5) looked rattled at the beginning of the game, not adjusting to the speed and inside play of the Stags (21-3), who finished the opening period on a 16-3 run.
“We knew they were going to have that press,” Andover Central junior Masen Stamp said. “We walked through it [in practice] and we knew exactly what we were going to do. We watched [tape] a little, but, until you are actually in the game, you can never tell where they are and where to go.”
Andover Central recomposed themselves in between quarters and began chipping away at the Stag lead. At halftime they trailed nine points, 29-20. Miege would push the deficit back out to 15 halfway through the third quarter, but Andover went to work in the fourth after Snodgrass sank three straight free throws to give them some needed momentum.
Snodgrass hit a shot in the paint that gave Andover Central hope with 4:28 left in the fourth, as they were down 49-46. Piggie then went on a tear for the Stags, scoring 13 points, even as the Jaguars kept fighting.
Snodgrass finished the game with 18 points to lead the Jaguars, who will face Kansas City Piper in the third place contest today at noon. Pedersen finished with 13 points. Katie Kretchmar had 13 rebounds.
As a team, Andover Central shot 44 percent from the floor and was 50 percent from distance. They were 11-for-20 at the foul line.
Andover Central will face a gut check of sorts in the third-place game.
“The nooner game is the gut check,” Jefferson said. “We’ve got a loss, now how are you going to respond to it? We’ll see tomorrow.”