Wamego Girls Claim First State Title

Getting contributions from all five starters, the Wamego girls basketball team denied defending champ McPherson 60-53 in the 4A state tournament finals at the Bicentennial Center in Salina on Saturday afternoon.  The Lady Raiders jumped out to an 8-2 lead, however the Bullpups rallied for an 11-10 lead after the first quarter and took an 18-12 advantage early in the second quarter.  Wamego would score the next 11 points, keyed by foul trouble to McPherson’s leading scorer and Oklahoma State commit Katelyn Loecker.  The Lady Raiders quickly built on a 25-20 halftime lead by pushing the margin to as many as ten in the third quarter, but then saw leading scorer Kaylee Page pick up her third and fourth fouls in succession.  Even with losing Lanie Page briefly due to a knee injury, Wamego took a 40-35 into the fourth quarter.

McPherson would rally for a one point lead in the fourth, but Wamego would never trail beyond that point.  Loecker fouled out with 3:25 left, and the Lady Raiders finished the game and the state title on a 10-3 run.

Kaylee Page was limited to 23 minutes, but still scored 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting including four three-pointers.  She added seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists.  Lanie Page wound up with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and hit seven of her eight free throw attempts.  Lakyn Rowden scored all 10 of her points in the second half for Wamego (25-1), and grabbed five rebounds.  McPherson (22-4) was topped by Loecker’s 25 points and eight boards, and Janae Barnes had 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Wamego’s best previous finish at the state tournament was 4th place in 1986.  The Lady Raiders lose four seniors in Rowden, Rikki Alderson, Rachel Griffitt, and Katie Baker.