Andover Central dominates Kapaun for NIT title

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Andover Central junior Brittany Harshaw scored 25 points in an 83-43 win over Kapaun-Mt. Carmel Saturday in the NIT. Harshaw claimed the tournament scoring title with 71 points in three games.
Andover Central sophomore Maddie Amekpofor scored nine points Saturday in a win over Kapaun-Mt. Carmel. The Jaguars won the Newton Invitational Tournament for the second-straight year and the fourth time overall.
Andover Central senior Bailey Wilborn scored 10 points in an 83-43 win over Kapaun-Mt. Carmel Saturday in the final round of the Newton Invitational.
Andover Central junior Brayden Wheatley guards Kapaun-Mt. Carmel senior Jennifer Jacobs during play Saturday in the 45th Newton Invitational.

The Andover Central Jaguar girls’ basketball team won its second straight Newton Invitational Tournament title in dominating fashion, stopping Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 83-43 Saturday afternoon at Ravenscroft Gym.

Central improves to 11-0, 3-0 in the 45th NIT.

It was the fourth title overall for the Jaguars.

“Basketball is an up and down game,” Central coach Stana Jefferson said. “We have been winning, but we really haven’t been clicking. Tonights focus was, ‘I don’t care what happens, but you are going to out-hustle them, out-work them and play defense.’ We took that to heart. We forced some turnovers. Our passing was a lot sharper. We were a lot stronger with the basketball. That led to better shooting. Once we get in rhythm and get to cutting and passing. we’re pretty good shooters.”

The Jaguars were led by Brittany Harshaw with 28 points. Harshaw finished the tournament with 71 points, tying Central’s Tiffany Bias for fifth all time. She tied for fourth in single-game scoring as a junior.

“It was pretty tough, but we were pretty prepared the past couple of weeks,” Harshaw said. “Our conditioning was good and that showed. We just came out and had fun. We played well together and played good defense. In a third game, you can sometimes lose energy, we just came out strong.”

Ellie Stearns scored 25 points for the Jaguars. Bailey Wilborn scored 10.

Carroll was led by Jennifer Jacobs with 13 points.

Central jumped out 13-2 early in the game. After 12 Kapaun turnovers in the quarter, Central led 29-10. Brayden Wheatley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars made a 16-3 run to start the second quarter and led 52-23 at the half. Sophia Gimino hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Crusaders.

Kapaun made a 7-0 run to start the second half. Central ended the quarter on a 15-0 run to lead 73-36 and ensure a running clock in the fourth quarter.

Central gets little respite from its title. The Jaguars face seventh-ranked (Class 5A) Goddard Eisenhower in an Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division II clash Tuesday.

“We just have to continue to get better to get to where we want to be at the end of the year,” Harshaw said.

“We have a really tough stretch of games coming up,” Jefferson said. “We have Eisenhower, (Salina) Central, Derby, McPherson. We’re going to really see what we’re made of in the next couple of weeks.”

KAPAUN-MT. CARMEL (8-5) — Quigley 2 0-1 1, 4; Rebolledo 0 0-0 0, 0; Gimino 1 (1) 2-2 2, 7; Bina 0 (2) 0-0 0, 6; Romer 1 (1) 4-4 0, 9; Bezdek 0 2-2 1, 2; Sanders 0 0-0 0, 0; Stewart 0 0-0 0, 0; White 1 0-2 0, 2; Jacobs 6 1-2 1, 13; Briggs 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 11 (4) 9-13 5, 43.

ANDOVER CENTRAL (11-0) — Jefferson 0 (1) 0-0 0, 3; Wilborn 5 0-0 2, 10; Stearns 7 (3) 2-2 1, 25; Newfarmer 1 0-1 1, 2; Harshaw 8 (3) 3-3 1, 28; Stefanek 0 0-0 0, 0; Amekpofor 4 1-1 3, 9; Parker 0 0-0 0, 0; Rogers 0 0-0 1, 0; Snodgrass 0 0-0 0, 0; Wheatley 0 (2) 0-0 3, 6; Hett 0 0-0 1, 0; TOTALS 25 (9) 6-7 14, 83.

Kapaun-MC;10;13;13;7;—;43

And.Cent.;29;23;21;10;—;83

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com