BROOKVILLE — Survive and advance.
That was the story for the Moundridge girls over the final two games of the Ell-Saline Class 2A sub-state.
After surviving an overtime challenge from Hillsboro on Thursday, the Wildcats found themselves pushed to the limit on Saturday in the championship game with old league rival Berean Academy.
In the usual close-to-the-vest defensive battle, MHS’ Ashley Holler made 8 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter to cement a 46-43 victory to earn the Wildcats a return trip to Manhattan where it took second last year.
Holler, the probable first-team All-Stater, did not score in the first half, but put up 14 points in the second, 10 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Peri Lange, known more for her defense, also was huge with 14 points. Moundridge made 17 of 21 free throws, 10 of 11 in the fourth quarter.
Kassidy Kaufman came off the bench for three huge 3-pointers in the second quarter which kept Moundridge in the game as it was outscored 26-22 going into halftime. MHS doubled the Warriors 12-6 in the third quarter before clinching the victory.
The 2A state field is loaded as MHS is 20-3, yet the No. 6 seed. The Wildcats play 23-0 Olpe at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. Also in the Wildcats’ part of the draw are 23-0 Valley Falls and 14-9 Republic County.
In the other half, Colgan (14-9) goes up against undefeated defending state champion Central Plains (23-0), while 21-1 Meade takes on 21-2 Hill City.