St. John's/Tipton finish just short at State appearance / Gates ends season in 22 point Lady Jay contest

When you get to the state tournament the teams are seeded according to their record.   The St. John's-Tipton Lady Blujays drew the number two seed based on their 19-4 record.   Their opponent in their first-round game was the Lady Eagles of Axtell whose record was 13-9.

When it comes to state, records don't seem to matter because the competition during the season varies because of the leagues that may have larger schools in them.

Thursday afternoon that was the case when the Lady Blujays fell to a very good team from Axtell who were better than their record indicated.

In a nail biter, the Lady Jays were on the short of a 66-64 score that wasn't decided until the final horn sounded.

"As I felt it would be it was a tough draw for us against Axtell as they play in a tough conference and have gotten beat by some big schools.   We felt confident if we played well it would be a very good game and that it was," said Lady Jay Coach Keith Kresin.  "We did what we needed to do the first half, took care of the ball and were aggressive getting the ball inside and had a good flow.   Second half they hit shots and made free throws.   We buckled down and made a good run and were there at the end.    It was a tough loss but wow we have came so far this year, accepting our roles and playing well as a team and making each of our teammates better.   Avery Gates came up big in big games and played like a Sr. Captain she was. She will be missed in her four years being involved at a state tournament twice and winning a lot of games.   If the young lady's continue to work hard and someone steps up to help contribute what we lost we will be pretty sound next year."

The game was close until the mid-point of the third quarter when the Lady Eagles took the lead and stretched it to nine points.   Late in the fourth quarter they held a 10-point lead only to watch the Lady Jays put on a furious rally and almost pull out the game.

Lauryn Dubbert opened with the first two points for the Jays.   The Lady Eagles then went on a seven to two run to claim a three-point lead. Kara Eilert led the Lady Jays with eight points in the first quarter with the Eagles up 11-10.

The second quarter was also a close one as there were three lead changes.   If one team had an advantage it was the Eagles as they shot extremely well the whole game.   Elle Eilert led the Lady Jays in the second quarter with six points and the team went to halftime, trailing 26-23.

Avery Gates opened the second half scoring with the first of her four three-pointers tying the score.   A six-point run by the Eagles gave them a 32-26 lead before the Jays answered with a basket by Gates and three-pointers by Dubbert and Gates giving St. John's/Tipton the lead. After trading baskets, the Lady Eagles event on a 10-point run to claim a 44-36 lead.   They led at the end of the third quarter 48-42.

The fourth quarter started with the Lady Jays rallying to tie the score at 5.   The Lady Eagles hit some key baskets to reclaim the lead and the St. John's/Tipton had to start fouling to regain possession.   The Lady Eagles hit nine free throws in the fourth quarter and with just one-minute remaining in the game, Axtell led 64-54.

The Lady Jays then started a furious rally as  Gates hit a three pointer and a basket and Dubbert cut the lead to three with a two point shot. Following an Eagle free throw, Kara Eilert hit a three-pointer to come within one point.   The Eagles brought the ball down the court and were fouled sending them to the line for one of two free throws.   The Jays rebounded with 5.7 seconds remaining and were able get a shot off but it didn't fall.   The Lady Jays ended their season on the short end of a 66-64 score.

The final game of the 2017-18 season saw senior Avery Gates put on a Blujay basketball uniform for the last time.

Gates led the Jays with 22 points followed by Kara Eilert with 17 points and Lauryn Dubbert 16 points.   Elle Eilert finished with 6 points and Erica Brummer 3.

Kara Eilert led the Lady Jays with 15 rebounds while Elle Eilert racked up 12 boards.   Tara Ellenz grabbed 3 rebounds while Avery Gates and Lauryn Dubbert each had 2. Emily Eilert, Erica Brummer and Caitlin Strong each pulled down 1 rebound.

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