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Local Sports

Ranked Royals erase Baxter girls in postseason opener

Baxter senior Sailor Hinegardner (4) looks for a teammate in the corner during a Class 1A Region 3 quarterfinal playoff game in Colo on Tuesday night. Hinegardner had five points, five assists and three rebounds in her final high school game as the Bolts were defeated by the No. 13 Royals 59-35.
Baxter senior Sailor Hinegardner (4) looks for a teammate in the corner during a Class 1A Region 3 quarterfinal playoff game in Colo on Tuesday night. Hinegardner had five points, five assists and three rebounds in her final high school game as the Bolts were defeated by the No. 13 Royals 59-35.

COLO — The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.

Baxter girls’ basketball coach Eric Padget knew he had to change things up in the third meeting of the season against Class 1A No. 13 Colo-NESCO.

Having lost to the Royals by 28 and 37 points during the regular season, Padget decided to give the home team a new look. And for a half, it worked.

“It’s one thing for a coach to come up with something that they think will work. The team still has to execute it,” Padget said. “I was proud of our kids. I thought they improved from the first two games.

“He’s a good coach though. It was a matter of time before he figured it out.”

The Bolts held a slim lead after one quarter and trailed by only three at halftime, but Colo-NESCO coach Wayne Cafferty and the Royals made adjustments at the break that resulted in a big second half during a 59-35 win in 1A Region 3 quarterfinal action.

Padget and the Bolts tried a triangle and two defense against the Royals’ top two scoring guards. They held a 7-5 lead after one quarter and remained in the game at halftime, trailing 17-14.

Once the Royals (18-4) got the ball inside to their two bigs, the lead became insurmountable.

“We haven’t played against a triangle and two this year,” Cafferty said. “We worked on it in practice thinking they could try something like that. Doing it in a game is totally different then it is in practice. We had trouble with their quickness, but we try to keep adjusting and scratch where it itches.

“We made enough plays and then wore them down a bit in the second half.”

Colo-NESCO faces Lynnville-Sully in the regional semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday in Colo.

The Hawks defeated Collins-Maxwell, 58-34, in their quarterfinal to advance.

Sophomore Holly Jessen hit a 3-pointer to open the game and junior Kaylin Van Ryswyk scored twice inside to give the Bolts a 7-5 advantage after one.

Molly Barten, a 6-foot-1 senior, and Emma Stalzer, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, scored the first eight points of the second quarter to grab a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

Jessen connected on another triple to keep the game close, and the Bolts (5-17) went into halftime down by three.

The Royals scored the first 10 points of the third quarter and outscored the Bolts 42-21 in the second half to pull away.

“I knew we had to try something different. They have three great players, and we don’t have the horses to stand up to that yet,” Padget said. “They went inside-out really well. Those girls that we were face guarding eventually got some looks and you just hope they have off nights.”

The Royals countered the triangle and two by pounding the ball inside and taking advantage of a significant surplus in height.

Barten finished with a team-high 16 points.

Chelsea Henze came into the game averaging around five points per game but finished with 15 as the Bolts were focused on stopping Faith Vincent and Rylee Purvis, who average a combined 28 points per game.

Vincent scored all 11 of her points in the second half, and Purvis was held to just four in the game.

“I knew if we were going to hang close we needed the game to be in the 30s,” Padget said. “We did our part. Unfortunately, Wayne didn’t do his part at all.”

Jessen led the Bolts with nine points, and sophomore Sadie Meyer scored eight.

Baxter battled adversity to key players all season long. The Bolts finished with five wins in their first season and brings back most of their roster next season.

Senior starters Sailor Hinegardner and Jordynn Wesselink along with reserves Ashlee Johnson and Kaitlynn Kelly will be lost to graduation.

“We have to shoot the ball a lot this offseason,” Padget said. “We have to get our shooting percentages up. We need another shooter to go with Holly.

“The post players can also improve on their post moves.”

Baxter was 14-of-44 from the floor on Tuesday. The Bolts hit on 6-of-20 from 3-point range.

Hinegardner scored five points, dished out five assists and grabbed three rebounds, Wesselink added four points, seven rebounds and three assists and freshman McKenzie Eslinger put in four points and grabbed five boards.

Baxter 7-7-10-11 — 35

Colo-NESCO 5-12-19-23 — 59

BAXTER (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP) — Sailor Hinegardner 2/1-0-0-5, Holly Jessen 3/3-0-0-9, Jordynn Wesselink 2-0-1-4, Sydney Schmidt 0-1-1-1, Sadie Meyer 3/2-0-0-8, McKenzie Eslinger 2-0-1-4, Sophie Meyer 0-0-1-0, Kaylin Van Ryswyk 2-0-2-4. TOTALS: 14/6-1-6-35

COLO-NESCO — Faith Vincent 4-3-1-11, Lauryn Hill 2/1-2-0-5, Chelsea Henze 5/2-3-1-15, Rylee Purvis 2-0-3-4, Molly Barten 8-0-0-16, Emma Stalzer 4-0-0-8. TOTALS: 25/3-5-6-59.

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