ANDOVER, KANSAS – The third-ranked Andover Central Jaguars went on a 24-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters to provide separation between them and Salina Central on Thursday night.
The Jaguars won 63-42 to with their 18th consecutive game and finish the regular season 19-1.
Without Missouri Western commit, Kaydn Cobb, the Jaguars were able attack the Lady Mustangs any way they wanted. Ellie Stearns started by hitting a couple of threes to start and tough defense by Jaden Newfarmer put the clamp down on the defensive side.
"We just make sure we talk a lot," sophomore Ellie Stearns said. "That helps us to get steals and rebounds."
After Hampton Williams hit two free throws early in the first quarter, Andover Central head coach subbed in her normal starting lineup and the route was on. Salina Central had no answer for Stearns or Brittany Harshaw.
Stearns hit threes and the Jaguars attacked the paint. And ended the first quarter on a 13-0 run and that was just the middle part of it.
Harshaw attacked, scoring two quick bucket and Stearns hit another three. The run reached 24-0, giving Andover Central a 30-4 lead before Salina Central’s Sara Opat hit a three with 4:32 remaining until halftime to end the run and bring the Lady Mustangs within 30-7.
"We all encourage each other," Stearns said. "It doesn’t matter who it is, whoever’s night it is, we are happy for them."
Andover Central led 34-9 at the break.
It was as if the first half tried to repeat itself as Harshaw and Stearns hit each hit threes to start the second half.
After Salina Central used a 7-0 run to cut into the deficit, Harshaw responded with a three from the top of the right side, ending the run and putting the Jaguars up 28.
Bailey Wilborn hit a three of her own to put the Jaguars up 51-21 with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
Stearns had 21 points and five made three-pointers to lead the Jaguars. Harshaw had 17 points, with 13 of those coming in the second half. Wilborn finished with 13 points.
Aubrie Kierscht and Williams each had 11 points for the Lady Mustangs.
Andover Central is the No. 2 seed in Class 5A’s playoffs starting next week. They’ll host a sub-state at Andover Central High. The Jaguars will most like host Hays (5-13) in the first round of their sub-state.
Salina Central drops to 15-5 and will be in the Maize South (16-4) sub-state next week as Maize South is locked into the fourth seed and Salina Central as the fifth seed.
"We know anything can happen," Stearns said. "We have to keep working hard."
Salina Cen. – 4; 5; 18; 15 – 42
Andover Cen. – 19; 15; 19; 10 – 63
SC: Williams 11, Kierscht 11, Cunningham 8, Stewart 5, Opat 3, Griffin 2, Samilton 2
AC: Stearns 21, Harshaw 17, Wilborn 13, Newfarmer, Amekporfor 4, Reimer 3