Monday, 10 May 2021
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Sabetha Survives - Advances to 3A State Championship
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

Like a roller-coaster, it was a game of huge momentum swings, twists and turns with a ton of excitement, drama, and an array of emotions. In the end however, it was nothing the Sabetha Lady Bluejays hadn't experienced or weren't prepared to conquer. And again, they prevailed by scoring the final five points of the game, all in the last eight seconds to beat Hugoton 57-55 and advance to the 3A State Championship this Saturday in Hutchinson.

Sabetha started the fourth quarter leading comfortably 43-32, only to lose a few turnovers and see Hugoton hit five triples and cap a 22-7 run with the Eagles ahead 54-50 at 2:21 remaining. The Bluejays made 2-4 free throws and Hugoton made 1-2 before missing a one-and-one with 20 seconds left to leave the door open.

It was all Leah Renyer from there, despite picking up her fourth personal foul with 36 seconds to play in the third period. The senior, who had made just two three-pointers the entire season, calmly made her second one of the night to tie the game at 55 with eight seconds left before Hugoton threw the ball away at half court under pressure. Coach Nate Baumann drew up a half court sideline play in the final four seconds, then gave Melinna Schumann the inbounds pass on the wing and option to drive and shoot or find Renyer on the opposite side of the lane. The latter decision proved to be the game-winner as time expired sending the Lady Jays and their fans into a euphoria.

Renyer finished with 21 points and Schumann ended with four treys and 20 total points, all in the first three quarters. Mary Lukert scored all six of her points in the fourth frame, including a three-point play, to keep Sabetha ahead at the time 48-42 with 5:40 on the clock that briefly stopped a 10-2 Hugoton run.  The Jays jumped to a 10-2 lead, only to see the Eagles fly ahead 19-14 midway through the second period. Sabetha took a 27-22 lead at halftime on a last second shot by Abbi Russell as the Bluejays were brilliant in transition all night. 

Hugoton got 22 points from Mikyn Hamlin, including nine in the fourth quarter while fellow sophomores Summya Adigun added 14 and Gianna Vos had 5. Jordyn Beard scored 8 and also had 14 rebounds and 8 blocked shots as the Eagles outrebounded Sabetha 37-30 and got several second chance points. Yet, the team that had only played three games by less than nine points this season, had 13 turnovers and ended their season with a 23-2 record and third place finish in their fifth state semifinal appearance in the last seven years. They also went just 7-16 from the foul line, including 2-5 in the fourth stanza. 

Sabetha, now 23-2,  placed second at state their last apperance in 2016 and has now made the championship game in 7 of their 14 state tournaments, but won just two girls basketball titles. The team that celebrated a volleyball championship in the Hutch Sports Arena this past fall will get a shot at undefeated Cheney at 2 PM on Saturday with live coverage on KNZA 103.9 FM.  Despite falling down 8-1, Cheney (25-0) beat Frontenac 62-46 earlier on Thursday.

As well as winning the last couple state volleyball titles, the Big 7 will have a girls team in the state basketball title for the fourth time in five years and Nemaha likely would have made it five time in six years as they went 24-0 last year before the final games were canceled. No doubt the toughness of the League helped prepare Sabetha for this type of win, especially after grinding out an overtime win in a rubber match against ranked Royal Valley in the Sub-State semifinals and a double overtime thrilling rubber match win against their rival Thunder in the Sub State Championship, all in the last week. 

Click the link to listen to the broadcast, including post game interviews with Melinna Schumann and Camryn Wessel as well as Coach Nate Baumann who is 42-6 in his first two years as Sabetha girls head coach.  

©2021 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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