In two previous matchups against Coffeyville this season, Pittsburg interior players Mariah Forrest, Skyler Muff and Lizzy Willis combined to score 69 of a possible 97 points against Coffeyville during 51-43 and 46-29 wins.

In two previous matchups against Coffeyville this season, Pittsburg interior players Mariah Forrest, Skyler Muff and Lizzy Willis combined to score 69 of a possible 97 points against Coffeyville during 51-43 and 46-29 wins.

During their Class 4A first round substate game Monday night, the inside trio combined for 30 points and scored all 14 points for Pittsburg in the first quarter en route to a 53-36 win at Pittsburg High School.

“It was definitely important to set the tone,” Pittsburg head coach Kim Peterson said of the 8-0 start and 14-5 lead after one quarter. “We wanted to jump out early and get some points on the board. That always gives us good confidence and also we wanted to play good defense and not let them get too many points. I felt we did that in the first half.”

Coffeyville interior players Abbie Herkelman and Bailey Braschler struggled with foul trouble — each player earned two personal fouls in the first 2:30 of game time and Braschler ultimately fouled out having scored only two points.

“That was unfortunate for their team,” Peterson said. “It was good for us. We’ll take that but that definitely hurt them a lot when both of their starting post players picked up their two fouls and later their three fouls, so they had to sit for a long time.”

What makes Forrest, Muff and Willis a matchup headache for opponents is their ability to work through multiple defenders collapsing on them, then to find each other and other teammates with sharp passes.

“That definitely gives them more options,” Peterson said, “knowing they have a partner in crime so to speak. Like you said, they can kick to each other, they can dump, kick it outside . . . a lot of teams will collapse on the one who has the ball so that opens up the other one. It’s definitely important to be able to work together and find each other post-to-post like that.”

Forrest led Pittsburg (17-4) with 11 points. Willis and Muff had 10 and nine points respectively and freshman Katy Short added seven. Ashley Willis, Mercedes Vogel, Bethanne Elliott and Alaura Short each scored four.

Devin Cosper scored a game-high 16 points for Coffeyville (4-17).

Pittsburg faces Girard (16-5) for a third occasion this season in what should be a great substate semifinal game Thursday night in Coffeyville.

“We split with them,” Peterson said. “They beat us the first time (59-46), we beat them the second time (42-33), so it’s kind of going to be for all the marbles. They’re a super-tough team. They’ve got really good all-around guard play and they’ve got a couple interior people that can do some damage. I definitely look for it to be a competitive matchup and we’ll have to definitely bring our A game.”

Pittsburg girls 53, Coffeyville 36
CHS     5  12 13  6  — 36
PHS    14 16 11 12 — 53
COFFEYVILLE (36) — Devin Cosper 7 1-2 16, Kelsi Graham 2 0-0 5, Alexus Johnson 2 0-0 5, Abbie Herkelman 2 0-0 4, Blair Johnson 2 0-0 4, Bailey Braschler 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 1-2 36.
PITTSBURG (53) — Mariah Forrest 3 5-6 11, Lizzy Willis 5 0-0 10, Skyler Muff 3 3-4 9, Katy Short 3 1-2 7, Ashley Willis 2 0-0 4, Mercedes Vogel 2 0-0 4, Bethanne Elliott 2 0-0 4, Alaura Short 1 2-2 4. Totals: 21 11-14 53.
Turnovers — CHS 12, PHS 14.