CHEROKEE — The Southeast Lancer girls are suddenly on a winning streak. After beginning the season without a win until Thursday night’s win over Jayhawk-Linn, the Lancers followed it up with a 53-29 win over the Erie Red Devils in Cherokee on Friday night.
With the win, the Lancer girls closed out their part in the Lancer Classic, going 2-1 on the week.
“I was hopeful that Thursday’s win would carry over to today and it did,” said Southeast head coach Derek Sanders. “Our execution is getting better. Our decision making is improving. It was nice.
"The girls never seemed down but when you get that win, it feels really good.”
Kayln Bitner finished with 18 points to lead the Lancers while Bailee Ulery had nine points. Julie Martin had seven points and Jessie Jenkins had five.
“On any given night, somebody is going to step up,” Sanders said. “Tonight we had several. When that happens, it’s a lot more fun.”
Catie Elliot and Kourtney Wimp each had eight points. Ashley Dillinger finished with six points and Courtney Gard had two. Lindsey Robertson had three points.
Bitner scored the first four Lancer baskets to give her team an 8-4 lead in the opening four minutes.
Jenkins became the first Southeast player other than Bitner to get on the score sheet after converting from 3-point land with two minutes in the first quarter.
A missed jump shot by Sarah Brown clunked off the back iron and the Lancers rebounded as Erie’s shooting went cold.
That all ended when Dillinger scored off the backboard on a rebound to end the Lancers’ 7-0 run.
Ulery scored her second field goal of the night to start the second quarter and Southeast had its largest lead of the game at that point at 15-6.
Bitner’s fifth basket came on a dish from Jackson for a simple jump shot. The Red Devils were held scoreless until the five minute mark in the second quarter with a long distance jumper from Wimp.
A pair of free throws by Hartman helped the Lancers to their second 11-point lead of the night at 19-8.
Dillinger and Wimp were the only Erie players to score in the second quarter and the Lancers had a 10-point halftime lead.
“We talked to the players about one possession at a time,” Sanders said. “You never know what one possession here or there will make a difference between going home with a win or a lost.”
The Lancers began the second half with two quick baskets to take a 25-11 lead.
Jackson, Martin and Buffington helped make it 31-14, Southeast and the Red Devils sent in an entire new starting lineup with 4:03 left in the third.
Alison LaForge’s steal at mid court almost turned into an Erie layup before the ball rolled off the rim in the third quarter.
Erie went on a 7-5 run to close out the third quarter.
Bitner’s floater ended the third on a high note for Southeast.
Ulery spotted an open Bitner under the basket for an easy jumper. It was Bitner’s second consecutive field goal of the fourth.
Martin added an "and-one" with 3:40 left on the clock with Southeast extending its lead to 46-27.
A desperation 3-point attempt by Brown hit the front iron and Martin was on the spot for the rebound. The Lancers drove up court with Jenkins hitting the trey.
“It’s nice to see when shots go up, we see girls box out players,” Sanders said. “The communication is getting better. It’s just good to see.”
The Lancers will next face the Galena Bulldogs for the second time this season. Coincidentally, it was Galena who was Southeast’s final opponent before the Lancer Classic.
But Sanders is hoping to use this week’s wins as advantages.
“Hopefully, we’ll have some momentum,” Sanders said. “We play Galena next Friday and that was our last opponent before this week. They won but our girls will be more than ready to face them again.”
Lancer boys escape with win
Caleb Fenimore had gone nearly all game without a basket.
The junior for the Southeast Lancers changed all of that in the fourth quarter by sinking three 3-pointers and a free throw to finish with 10 points in the Southeast
Fenimore hit two outside jumpers in the final minute to give the Lancers a 52-51 lead over Jayhawk-Linn.
Fenimore hit another 3-pointer and after Cole Burdette’s transition layup, the Lancers had gone from a one point lead to a six point advantage with under 10 seconds left and the Lancers held on for the 60-53 comeback win on Friday night.
“We called a timeout and coach kept telling me that they were going to feed me the ball and they threw it to me even though I hadn’t made a shot all game,” Fenimore said. “Coach kept telling me to keep shooting and eventually, it went in.”
Chandler Jackson would score eight points alone in the fourth quarter to finish with 23 points total.
“I told Chandler that we need him to step up because we were going to feed him the ball and that’s what he did,” said Southeast head coach Timothy Simpson. “I told Fenimore that I don’t care if he’s missing shots. He’s a shooter and he got himself out of it and scored.”
The Lancers turned a 14-10 first quarter deficit into a 25-19 second quarter lead in a game that went back and fourth.
“It was a crazy game,” Simpson said. “I’m proud of our guys and the way they played. They did everything that we asked them to do. We had to go out and play hard no matter what and that’s what they did.”
Burdette finished with 15 points while Colton Trejo had six. Colton Paasch finished with two and Devin Gideon had four.
Brandon Gray had 16 points to lead the Jayhawks while Chad Coleman had 13. Tommy Lankford had six points and Cole McGrew had 10. Harley Stone finished with six points.
Trejo and Burdette hit consecutive 3-pointer to erase an early five point Lancer deficit.
The Jayhawks began the second quarter with an and-one by Brandon Gray before the Lancers hit consecutive 3-pointers to pull to within one.
Burdette hit his third 3-pointer of the night from the left side of the perimeter and the Lancers took their first lead of the night at 19-17 with five minutes in the second quarter.
After the Jayhawks threw up an air ball, the Lancers rebounded and Jackson scored from the inside.
Stone scored his first outside shot and the Jayhawks used a 6-0 run to tie the game up.
A trip to the charity stripe by Lankford tied the game at 27 in the closing minute of the first half. Stone’s second 3-pointer of the night came at the buzzer to send the Jayhawks into the locker room with a 30-27 lead.
“It was a dog fight,” Simpson said. “Going into halftime, we were tied when they hit that shot off the glass at then end of the second quarter. I told the guys that they’re doing what we want them to do. Only thing they have to do is keep playing as a family and I’m very proud of them.”
A transition basket by Jackson brought the Lancers to within four in the final minute of the third quarter.
Gray responded with a basket of his own to restore the six point lead for the Jayhawks.
Jackson’s two field goals at the start of the fourth quarter brought the Lancers to within two.
Burdette would use an underhanded layup to tie the game at 42-42 with 6:18 left.
A couple of misses by the Jayhawks and Southeast responded with a Jackson basket for the Lancers’ first lead of the second half.
A Jayhawk-Linn air ball was rebounded by the Lancers and Paasch scored on the other end of the floor for a four point lead.
After Jackson missed both shots on a free throw trip, Paasch met the rebound but couldn’t hit the put-back.
“Rebounding is pure effort,” Simpson said. “Whether it’s offense or defense. That’s what I told our guys. If you want to win this game, you have to give an all out effort and then some.”
But the Jayhawks went on a run to regain the lead and the Lancers’ shooting started to wane.
Jackson missed five free throws in the fourth quarter after hitting three in the third.
Southeast will next face Erie for fifth place at 4:30 p.m. today. The Jayhawks will take on Columbus for seventh place at 3 p.m. today in the Lancer Classic.
Michael Bauer is a sports reporter for the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter at @michaeljohn391.