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Lady Panthers Dominate Eureka to Advance to State Semifinals
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports
03/07/2019

It only took a few minutes Wednesday to see the difference between girls state qualifiers in the opening round game of the 3A Tournament.  Royal Valley was clearly the more experienced and confident squad returning to Hutchinson after placing second a year ago.  Eureka looked like an extremely young team making their first ever state tourney appearance.  So it was no surprise that the #6 seeded Panthers pounced early to an 8-2 lead and never looked back in building a 13-point halftime margin and cruising to a 56-36 victory.  

 Senior star Mary Broxterman picked up where she left off last year in Hutch (earning All State honors posting 48 points in the three 2018 state games) as she exploded with nine points in the opening quarter and finished the game with 25 points and 9 rebounds.  The biggest surprise however was fellow senior Emily Albright, who has played incredible defense all year and especially in Sub-State games last week, but showcased her offensive skill set in the second period by knocking down her fourth and fifth three-pointers of the season and scoring 8 of her 10 points while also forcing a five-second count and couple turnovers, taking two charge calls and grabbing a couple offensive rebounds as the smallest player on the court.

Mahpiya Irving knocked down three of the Royal Valley seven shots behind the arc to add 11 points and Wakiyan Irving chipped in a couple treys and scored eight points.  Kikto Thomas was held to just one basket but added a pair of blocks as well as five assists and five steals.  The Panthers forced 21 Eureka turnovers and got all 12 players into the game after starting the second half on a 14-0 run that ballooned the advantage to 44-17 with three minutes left in the third quarter.  The Panthers improved to 19-5 on the season and will face #2 seed Norton who blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter before holding on for a 48-45 victory against Scott City on Wednesday afternoon.  Norton has a couple good six-foot players and will tip against Royal Valley at 3:00 PM Friday in the semifinals with live coverage on KNZA 103.9 FM. 

Eureka ended their season 20-4 and was led by three underclassmen as Madelyne Koop had 11 points and Chazni Barker added 10 while Brooklyn Ptacek chipped in six points.          


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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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