Fast start for Wildcats doom Blujays

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Beloit St. John's-Tipton Catholic senior Lauryn Dubbert scored 18 points in a 52-31 loss to Cunningham.
Cunningham senior Morgan Meyers scored 28 points to lead the Wildcats to a 52-31 win over Beloit St. John's-Tipton Catholic in the Class 1A Division II state semifinals.
Beloit St. John's-Tipton Catholic junior Leah Brummer takes a shot during state semifinal play Thursday. The Blue Jays ends the season 19-2.
Cunningham sophomore Reese McGuire blocks a shot during play in the Class 1A, Division II state semifinals. Cunningham faces Central Plains in the finals.
Beloit St. John's-Tipton Catholic junior Paige Hollerich drives the baseline during play Thursday in Great Bend.
Cunningham senior Mackenzie Wright gets tangled up with a couple of Blue Jay players during the Class 1A, Division II state semifinals in Great Bend.

GREAT BEND — The Cunningham girls basketball team delivered the knockout punch early and the Beloit St. John’s-Tipton never got off the canvas, allowing the Wildcats to claim a 52-31 win Thursday night in the semifinals of the Class 1A Division II state tournament in Great Bend.

Senior Morgan Meyers led the way for Cunningham with 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting.

“We knew we had to come out strong, and if we didn’t come out strong, it would be very difficult to beat that team,” Meyers said. “It still was. Starting out strong really helped us. They made a run. We expected that. We had to stay focused.”

“We’re not a very deep team and we had some foul trouble,” Cunningham coach Eric Meyers said. “They picked up some early fouls that helped us. We had to leave some people on the bench longer than we would have liked to.”

Eric Meyers said his team was able to break the Blue Jay press early, which proved to be an advantage.

Lauryn Dubbert led the Blue Jays, 19-2, with 18 points.

“Cunningham is a tough team and I knew that they could score some points early,” Blue Jay coach Leah Bergman said. “The key for us was to not panic. We came out a little unsettled. We panicked a little bit. We picked up some fouls early that made us a little timid. Our pressure defense has made it tough for teams, but picking up those quick fouls, we got a little timid.”

Cunningham jumped out to a 13-0 lead, leading 17-5 at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Jays opened the second quarter with a 6-2, but Meyers answered with a 3-pointer and a layup off a steal. After a Blue Jay time out, Meyers hit a 25-foot shot. The Wildcats led 29-14 at the half. 

Dubbert 3-pointers in the third quarter kept Cunningham from extended its lead beyond 17 points. The Wildcats led 41-27 at the end of the period.

Cunningham opened the fourth quarter by hitting three of four free throws. Meyers followed with a layup.

The Blue Jays lose four seniors, including two starters. The team consists of six from Beloit St. John’s and six from Tipton.

“We started two juniors who are going to be really good next year,” Bergmann said. “We started a sophomore who is going to get better. We have some girls on the bench, who got to see some minutes this year. I’m excited to see our team next year.”

Cunningham, 23-2, takes on Central Plains at 2 p.m. Saturday in the finals.

“We have to play really well,” Morgan Meyers said. “We know they are a very good team, but we are up to the challenge. 

“I don’t look ahead,” Eric Meyers said. “I do know what color their uniforms are. I will be busy this evening and up early in the morning. They are the team to beat. They were the four seed, but when I saw the bracket, I thought it was upside down.” 

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com

CUNNINGHAM 52, BELOIT ST. JOHN'S-TIPTON 31

Cunningham;17;12;12;11;-;52

St. John’s-T;5;9;13;4;—;31

CUNNINGHAM (23-2) — A.McGuire 1-4 0-0 2, M.McGuire 1-7 5-9 7, Panek 3-5 1-2 7, Meyers 10-17 5-8 28, R.McGuire 2-8 0-1 6, Schultz 0-0 0-0 0, Lohrke 0-0 0-0 0, Hansen 0-1 0-0 0, Wright 0-2 2-2 2, Jump 0-0 0-0 0, Ellis 0-0 0-0 0, TOTALS 17-44 13-22 52

BELOIT ST. JOHN’S-TIPTON CATHOLIC (19-2) — Wiles 2-5 0-0 4, L.Brummer 0-1 1-2 1, Hollerich 2-9 0-0 5, Schmitt 1-2 1-3 3, Dubbert 7-19 0-0 18, J.Gengler 0-0 0-0 0, K.Brummer 0-0 0-0 0, Towner 0-1 0-0 0, R.Gengler 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-3 0-0 0, TOTALS 12-40 2-5 31.

3-point shooting — Cun. 5-15 (Meyers 3-6, R.McGuire 2-8, Wright 0-1), SJTC 5-16 (L.Brummer 0-1, Hollerich 1-3, Dubbert 4-12). Rebounds — Cun. 39 (M.McGuire 11), SJTC 22 (Wiles 5). Assists — Cun. 6 (A.McGuire 3), SJTC 4 (L.Brummer 2). Turnovers — Cun. 15 (Meyers 5), SJTC 17 (Dubbert 6). Blocked shots — Cun. 4 (Wright 2), SJTC 4 (Hollerich 2). Steals — Cun. 10 (Meyers 5), SJTC 2 (L.Brummer 1, Jones 1). Total fouls — Cun. 14, SJTC 18. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — SJTC: Schmitt 3:48-4q.