WINFIELD — The points came in spurts, but an extended zone defense never let the Calamus-Wheatland girls basketball team get comfortable during Tuesday’s 1A Region 5 quarterfinal with ninth-ranked Winfield-Mount Union.
The hosting Wolves forced 14 first-half turnovers and stopped a potential Warriors comeback by shooting 8-of-11 in the fourth quarter of a 55-31 victory.
Neither squad shot the ball particularly well early, but Winfield-Mount Union was able to turn Cal-Wheat’s early turnovers into extra shots and buried a pair of early threes to build a 12-3 lead.
The Warriors answered back, getting a hoop inside by Alison Boeckmann and a Kahlie Hill free throw, but the Wolves wrapped up the first-quarter scoring with a basket and then scored the first eight points of the second stanza to go up 16.
Cal-Wheat countered by cleaning up its misses on the offensive glass. The Warriors grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the period with Hill and Emily Knudtson both turning their boards into put-backs.
The two hoops combined with a pair of three-pointers for Addy Widel gave the Warriors a 10-2 run to close the half and cut their deficit in half.
Cal-Wheat, though, went cold again on the other side of halftime. The Warriors were limited to just a pair of Widel free throws during a 12-2 Winfield-Mount Union push that made it 36-18.
The Warriors did begin to find some holes in the Wolves’ zone defense late: Knudtson struck inside, while Camryn Schnede buried a pair of open looks in the lane. The six-point run to end the quarter kept Cal-Wheat within striking distance, down 12.
The Wolves, though, could seemingly not miss during the fourth quarter, hitting eight of their 11 attempts and both of their free throws to put things out of reach.
Two more Schnede hoops during the fourth helped her tie Widel for the team-lead with eight points. Hill had five points, while Knudtson chipped in four.
Boeckmann grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, helping her eclipse 500 for her career, and dished out four assists. Hill had nine boards, while Widel had five to go with two assists and two steals.
The Warriors’ 12 wins this season are the second-most in the school’s five-on-five history and the five-player program has posted its first back-to-back winning seasons.