The season came to an end for the Kit Carson Lady Wildcats as they lost to Fleming in a tight ball game, 37-35, in the first round of the consolation bracket on Friday morning at the UNC Bank of Colorado Arena in Greeley.
Kit Carson finished the season with a 17-9 record.
This particular group of Lady Wildcats literally scratched and clawed their way to the state tournament and just missed advancing. Congratulations to Coach Sara Crawford and her feisty Wildcats.
The Lady Wildcats opened up the 1A Girls State Tournament with a loss to the #1 seeded Flatirons Academy, 42-29. The Academy was the returning 2-time state champions and used their extensive offensive prowess to outpace Kit Carson.
The loss pitted Kit Carson on Friday in the consolation side of the bracket with Fleming.
The two teams were evenly matched as Fleming struggled to contain the inside presence of Cat senior Tess Johnson. At halftime the Fleming girls were trailing Kit Carson, 17-15.
To start the third period the Fleming girls came out hot and hit three buckets before Kit Carson could get their traction. Fleming would gain the lead 19-17 until Johnson answered with an inside post bucket.
Fleming used a full-court trapping pressure defense to control the Kit Carson guards in the hope they would not get it down low where the bigs in Johnson and Payge Booker-Rady were dominating.
The score was tied two more times, each time with Kit Carson answering Fleming’s challenge. At the end of the third the teams were knotted up at 24 apiece.
The fourth quarter was exciting as neither team could gain traction. Fleming gained a four-point advantage with 3:12 left in the game on a Kirkwood layup, 32-28.
But Cat senior Kenzie Waggoner answered with a bucket closing the gap, 32-30 with 2:55 left.
The teams continued to go the distance as Fleming gained another four-point advantage, but Waggoner again answered from the left elbow to bring the score to 37-35, Fleming with the small lead with just .30 seconds left in the contest.
Kit Carson had to foul to stop the clock and it paid off as Fleming missed the front end of a one-and-one and Waggoner grabbed the rebound with the Cats trailing by two, 37-35.
Kit Carson got three good looks at the bucket in the last 9 seconds of the game and could not convert.
It was heart-wrenching for this group of players who have battled so hard to get to the Big Show. They will now lose a fine group of seniors, all starters in Tess Johnson, Kenzie Waggoner, and Torrie Randel.