Halstead outlasts Haven in defensive clash

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Halstead senior Karenna Gerber draws a quadruple team on a shot during play Thursday against Haven. Gerber scored 12 points in a 37-27 Dragon win.

HESSTON — The offense wasn’t always working for the Halstead High School girls basketball team, but the defense was consistent as the Dragons knocked off league rival Haven 37-27 on Thursday night in the Class 3A sub-state semifinals in Hesston.

The 19-3 Dragons reached the finals against rival Hesston at 2 p.m. Saturday in Hesston.

“(Defense) has been our calling card with this group,” Halstead coach Derek Schutte said. “This group of girls like to play defense. If offense isn’t clicking or shots aren’t going in, we can fall back on that and get stops. We have two teams that know each other. They are two good teams and two good defensive teams. That becomes a slugfest sometimes.”

Karenna Gerber led Halstead with 12 points. Maguire Estill led Haven with eight.

“That’s the second time we’ve had to play Haven,” Gerber said. “That’s a good team. They are really well-coached. A lot of good girls over there. That’s good competition in the league. I had to give it to (Estill). She hit some shots late that put a scare into us. We were able to get right back into it. We’ve been working on (defense) a lot in practice.”

“Defensively, we were really good,” Haven coach Dwight Roper said. “We carried our game plan out there. Their defense was really good too. We just don’t have an answer for Karenna Gerber. They do a lot of good things. It’s Russian roulette. You have to give up something. You try to make some other girls hit some shots, and they did.”

Down 4-0, Halstead took advantage of Haven turnovers to make a 9-0 run. Maguire Estell hit a putback with 12 seconds left to get the Wildcats back within three, 9-6.

Haven was held scoreless for 4 1/2 minutes to start the second quarter, but all the Dragons could muster in that time was a Gerber trey. Brooke Brawner broke the Haven shutout in the period with a layup.

A Sadie Estill jumper with 28 seconds remaining got Haven within one at the half, 12-11.

Halstead made a 10-2 run to start the third quarter. An Engel trey at the buzzer put Halstead ahead 27-15.

A Gerber three-point play with 6:21 in regulation put Halstead up 15. Haven fought back to within seven late.

“We have two good teams in Hesston and Southeast of Saline playing,” Schutte said. “Either way, it doesn’t matter who we play. We just have to take care of business.”

Haven ends the season 7-14, losing five seniors.

“We lost 11 games to teams that were ranked,” Roper said. “We played one of the toughest schedules I can remember. We played Nickerson three times. We played Halstead twice. We played Hesston twice. We played Cheney in the first round of our tournament. We played Moundridge in our tournament. We don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Our record doesn’t speak to what kind of team we have.”

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com




HAVEN (7-14) — Arnold 3 0-0 4, 6; Bri.Brawner 0 2-2 1, 2; Roper 1 3-4 1, 5; Bra.Brawner 2 0-0 4, 4; S.Estill 1 0-0 0, 2; L.Smith 0 0-0 0, 0; M.Estill 1 (2) 0-2 4, 8; TOTALS 8 (2) 5-8 15, 27.

HALSTEAD (19-3) — Lewis 1 2-2 3, 4; O’Brien 3 1-4 2, 7; Schroeder 1 (1) 0-12, 5; Gerber 4 (1) 1-4 1, 12; Schutte 0 0-0 0, 0; Engel 0 (3) 0-0 2, 9; McClain 0 0-0 2, 0; TOTALS 9 (5) 4-10 12, 37.

Halstead senior Josie Engel makes a pass during play in the Class 3A sub-state semifinals Thursday in Hesston.
Haven junior Reese Roper, right, looks to drive on Halstead senior Parker Schroeder during play Thursday in Hesston. The Dragons won 37-27 to advance to the sub-state finals Saturday.
Haven senior Carlee Arnold gets a handoff from teammate Maguire Estill. Estill scored eight points to lead Haven.
Halstead freshman Dominique Schutte handles the ball during play Thursday against Haven in the sub-state semifinals.