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Pratt girls knock down the shots in tournament play

Kahrie Stegman
Pratt High School's Dani Staats (middle, dark shirt) was selected for the Hoisington All-Tournament team last week, along with Lexi Walker (not pictured).

The Lady Greenbacks finished third in the Hoisington Tournament last week, where they learned the importance of every position on the team.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Pratt competed against La Crosse and ended with a score of 54-21 and a Greenback victory.

“We came out and used our 2-2-1 press to create turnovers and offensively was hot to begin with and able to jump out to a 23-4 lead at half and kept it going 2nd half,” Hildebrand said. “We made 44 percent of our 3-point shots and that really helped us extend the lead.”

Sophomore Lexi Walker and senior Dani Staats led the team in the LaCrosse game.

“As a team we made eleven 3s and Lexi made six 3s. Lexi led the team with 18 points as well as 6 steals and Dani Staats had 15 points.”

On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Lady Greenbacks fell short of a win by only 5 points, with a score of 46-51 against Ellinwood.

Both Helfrich and Hildebrand thought the team struggled with turnovers.

“We had some low points in our game against Ellinwood, battling a very active press and a multitude of turnovers on our part,” junior Sian Helfrich said.

“We started out doing well and was even then had a stretch at the end of 1st quarter and through 2nd quarter where we really struggled turning the ball over,” said Coach Hildebrand.

“Third quarter was much better with not turning the ball over and were able to get it back to a tied game a couple times.”

Going into the fourth quarter, Pratt was only down by two points.

“Down the stretch we had several opportunities to take the lead with free throws and also transition layups but unfortunately we weren’t able to convert and had to resort to fouling and they made their free throws and ended losing 51-46.”

Staats and Johnson stood out to coach Hildebrand in the Ellinwood game.

“Dani led us in scoring with 21 points,” Hildebrand said. “Kyra Johnson had a good all around game with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.”

Pratt finished the tournament in 3rd place with a win against Victoria, 60-47 on Saturday, Feb. 25.

“Our loss to Ellinwood only fired us up for Victoria, as we played against another very difficult press,” said Helfrich.

The team was able to jump to a 10-point lead in the first quarter.

“They kept making small runs to keep it around 10 points and so (we) only led by 7 at half time,” said Hildebrand.

Pratt got fired up in the final quarter.

“We finally got going and were able to take a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter. The lead never got under 10 points the rest of the game.”

The Lady Greenbacks had a good shooting game against Victoria.

“We shot well for the game again and shot 55 percent from 3s,” Hildebrand said. “Dani Staats and Lexi Walker both had career highs in scoring with 28 points and 25 points respectively. Dani also had eight steals in the game.”

Sian was impressed with Staats and Walker.

“Both ladies stood up and knocked shots down when we needed them most,” Helfrich said. “They took on a lot of pressure when the rest of the team struggled to score.”

Helfrich thought the team’s confidence helped them in their final game.

“The difference was against Victoria everyone on the team was confident with their own ability, instead of being afraid to mess up,” Helfrich said. “We finally came together when we realized the importance of everyone’s different role on the team. I felt like we grew as team by becoming more confident with the ball instead of just trying not to mess up.”

Staats and Walker both made All-Tournament team after being voted on by the coaches in the tournament.

Moving on in the season, Hildebrand hopes the girls keep their focus.

“We have had games where we have really locked down and teams struggled to run their offense and score and I think we gave up too many easy buckets,” Hildebrand said. “We need to refocus and have that defensive mindset down this home stretch of games.”

The Lady Greenbacks will face Hoisington at home on Friday, Jan. 31.