Another lopsided victory has the Chadron girls basketball team in position to defend its championship of the Western Conference Invitational Tournament.
The Cardinals, who are rated No. 2 in the Omaha World-Herald’s Class C-1 preseason ratings, cruised to an 80-26 win over Torrington, Wyo., in their semifinal game Friday at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.
Chadron has outscored its opening two opponents by a combined score of 165-51.
Chadron will take on Sidney in Saturday’s title tilt at 5 p.m. at WNCC. Sidney advanced to the final with a 40-30 semifinal win over Alliance.
A 27-4 outburst in the first quarter gave Chadron firm control of its semifinal contest with Torrington. The majority of the Cardinals’ points in the opening eight minutes were a direct result of turnovers and steals generated off a full-court press that gave the Trailblazers problems in just getting the ball to half court.
“That’s our signature — our defensive pressure,” Chadron coach Curt Holmquist said. “The girls enjoy playing defense. Like in the first half against Scottsbluff in our first game, I thought the girls did a good job of pressuring Torrington full court and we were able to get quite a few points off of that. Even when we did pull the press off, I still thought the girls did a good job in our half-court defense by forcing a few turnovers and getting some steals.”
Not only was Chadron cashing in on point-blank shots in the paint in building its big advantage, the Cardinals were also draining shots regularly from the perimeter. Chadron canned five 3-pointers in the first half, two each coming from Ashlea Kerr and Briley Hannaford.
A trey from Jazzy McLain helped Chadron hold a commanding 50-16 lead at halftime.
“Our shots were falling early,” Holmquist said.
Kerr, who led all scorers in the contest with 20 points, scored nine of Chadron’s first 11 points of the second half to push the lead to 61-18.
The Cardinals’ starters were on the bench at the midway point of the third quarter and didn’t return.
Four Cardinals cracked the double-figure scoring column for the second straight night. In addition to Kerr’s total of 20, Hannaford poured in 15, Peyton Hinn had 12 and McLain finished with 10. McLain and Kerr both dropped in a trio of 3-pointers, while Hinn knocked in a pair.
Kerr ended with a double-double as she also led the Cardinals on the glass with 10 rebounds. Alia Brennan pulled down nine boards. Defensively, Hannaford recorded three steals and Bailea Kerr had two blocks.
Torrington was led in scoring by Kailee Adams with eight points. Allison Marsh added seven. Adams also led the Blazers with seven rebounds. Marsh, Kayla Frazier and Mikayla McNamee all collected four boards.
Chadron (2-0) .....................27 23 16 14 — 80
Torrington (1-1)......................6 10 6 4 — 26
Jazzie McLain 10, Peyton Hinn 12, Maggie Earney 2, Briley Hannaford 15, Ashlyn Eitemiller 2, Maaryn Davis 2, Ashlea Kerr 20, Bailea Kerr 2, Cassie Hyatt 3, Alia Brennan 8, Carly Churchill 4.
Murphy Haun 2, Kayla Frazier 3, Allison Marsh 7, Taylor Frazier 1, Kailee Adams 8, Mikayla McNamee 4, Taylor Troxel 2.