EMPORIA, KANSAS – It was the wakeup call the Jaguars needed.

Andover Central used a 17-2 run midway through the second quarter to take command against DeSoto on Thursday. The Jags hit three frees over a 3-minute span to run away with the 61-52 win.

With the cancellation of the state tournament, the Jaguars finish their season 21-1.

“Our team does not like to lose,” Jaden Newfarmer said. “We know how to come together.”

The win propels the Jaguars into the 5A Final Four for the first time since 2014.

“It feels good to get back here,” Andover Central head coach Stana Jefferson said. “To come back here and get a ‘W,’ and you get to come back, maybe, awesome feeling.”

The Jaguars grabbed the lead midway through the second quarter when Brittany Harshaw cut to the rim and laid it up, giving the Jags the 7-5 lead. Then, she hit a three from the top-right side to put them up 12-5. The run was capped off when Bailey Wilborn sank her own money ball to put the Jaguars on top 17-11 to end the first.

It seemed as if the Jaguars would cruise to another big margin of victory. However, De Soto had other plans. The Lady Wildcats used a 10-3 run to take the 21-20 lead with 5:42 remaining when Katelynn Ostronic and LaMyah Ricks teamed up to get DeSoto in the game.

That is when the Jaguars perked up.

After a timeout, Jayden Newfarmer scored and Wilborn followed it up with one of her four three-pointers on the night. A real team effort was used on the run. Freshman Maddi Amekporfor and Harshaw all chipped in as Central went on a 17-2 run over a 4:27 run in the second quarter.

“Sometimes I don’t even call them the little things, they’re the big things,” Jefferson said. “Her [Newfarmer] toughness and when we struggled to score, the kid stepped up and put it in the whole.”

Newfarmer finished the night with eight points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The 37-27 lead at halftime was indicative of the teamwork the Jaguars have displayed all season.

“We’re not a one-dimensional team,” Jefferson said. “We’re a 1 through the end of the bench type of team.”

Ellie Stearns hit a three and Wilborn hit another as Andover Central opened up a 15-point lead with 2:37 remaining in the third.

“It [when Central is making 3-pointers] makes it so much easier,” Newfarmer said.

The Jaguars finished 11-of-20 on the night from three. Wilborn and Harshaw combined for eight made threes, four each.

The defense by the Jaguars, as they held De Soto to 6-of-18 from the three-point line. They also blocked out the Lady Wildcats, winning the rebounding battle.

Harshaw had 19 points and five rebounds for Central. Wilborn had 14 points, two assists and three rebounds. Freshman Amekporfor had eight points, four rebounds, four blocks and three steals in her first state game.


DE SOTO (16-7)

Diehl 0-7 1-3 1, Ricks 4-7 0-0 9, Shupe 4-17 4-4 17, Ostronic 8-13 6-6 24, Fuhr 0-1 1-2 1, Waite 0-0 0-0 0, Mills 0-0 0-0 0, Henderson 0-0 0-0 0, S. Carver 0-1 0-0 0, M. Carver 0-0 0-0 0, Colwell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-47 12-15 52.


Wilborn 5-10 0-0 14, Stearns 3-10 4-4 12, Newfarmer 3-5 1-3 8, Harshaw 7-13 1-2 12, Amekporfor-Sadler 2-6 4-6 8, Boline 0-1 0-0 0, Wheatley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-47 10-15 61.


Andover Central;17;20;12;12;—;61

3-point goals— De Soto 6-18 (Diehl 0-2, Ricks 1-1, Shupe 3-11, Ostronic 2-3, S. Carver 0-1), Andover Central 11-20 (Wilbron 4-7, Stearns 2-6, Newfarmer 1-2, Harshaw 4-5). Fouled out—None.

Rebounds—De Soto 27 (Ostronic 10), Andover Central 33 (Newfarmer 8). Turnovers—De Soto 11, Andover Central 12. Total fouls—De Soto 15, Andover Central 14.