|Lady Dragons 6th in state playoffs|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
Proving the naysayers wrong, Holyoke Lady Dragon basketball players demonstrated they belonged at the 2A State Basketball Championships last weekend at CSU-Pueblo.
After losing to league foe Sedgwick County in round one, the Dragons put one in the W column by defeating Hayden on Friday.
It was a narrow four-point loss on Saturday that finished up the Dragon season with a 6th-place finish. Again, the Dragons faced a league foe, Akron, who had previously defeated HHS twice.
This time it was a much closer game, and the Dragons fought hard down to the wire to make the state tournament and the entire season one to be proud of.
The 43-47 loss to Akron ended the Dragon season with a 10-16 record and much to hold their heads high for.
“Holyoke fans are the best,” said coach Arlan Scholl. The fan tunnels and intro line that wound around the edges of the court meant a lot to him and the team members. “Those are memories that last forever,” he added.
Senior Heather Duester makes her way through the Dragon fan base on the court sideline as HHS
Scholl commented on the fun weekend at the state tournament. “The girls played great, and I was so proud of how they represented Holyoke.”
Scholl added it was a little strange and actually a little disappointing to travel all the way to Pueblo to play two Lower Platte Activities Association teams that the Dragons had already played several times this year.
“However, it does confirm how strong our league is to have three LPAA teams out of eight teams competing in the state tournament,” said Scholl.
The first half of the consolation championship with Akron belonged to the Rams Saturday morning. Akron jumped to an early lead and dominated 13-5 after one quarter of play.
The Rams outscored Holyoke 12-9 in the second to widen their advantage to 11 points at halftime, 25-14.
Akron scored first in the third period with a two-point basket. An Akron two-pointer with about a minute remaining in the quarter accounted for the Rams’ total four points.
Meanwhile, the Lady Dragons made it a three-point ball game with 12 points in the third, and it was 29-26 Akron as the final period began.
KrisAnna Ham shoots a three-pointer
Halfway into the final period, Akron had managed nine points. Dragon Laura Gerk kept Holyoke alive with two three-pointers to keep it a six-point game, led by the Rams, 38-32.
Two-pointers by Erin Vieselmeyer, Marci Vasa and Mallory Bennett matched with Akron’s eight points to put the Rams on top 46-38 with just over a minute in the ball game.
The clock showed 22 seconds when Vasa scored on a two-pointer. At :20.4, Akron’s lead scorer Sidney Merrill hit the front end of a one and one to move the Rams ahead 47-40.
Still fighting hard, with only :10.4 on the game clock, Gerk swished three free throws to cap a fine 16-point game performance.
Vasa picked up her fifth foul with four seconds remaining, Akron missed the free throw and the consolation championship went to the Rams, 47-43.
Gerk’s 16-point scoring effort came on two two-pointers, two three-pointers and six for seven from the line.
As a team, the Dragons performed well at the charity stripe, hitting 10 for 13 for 77 percent. Vieselmeyer was two for two from the line. Akron hit six of 11 for 55 percent.
Bennett and Vieselmeyer each grabbed seven boards, Vasa had four assists, Gerk made one steal and Vieselmeyer had two blocks in the season finale.
Coach Scholl said it’s been a great group of girls to work with, and he looks forward to continued success in the Lady Dragon basketball program. He also credited assistant coaches Kate Shoemaker and Harvey Eurich.
Face paint, retro basketball uniforms, shades and spirit decorate this group of HHS fans at Saturday’s