DODGE CITY — Elyria Christian School girls coach Greg Fields admitted it took his Eagles a while to get comfortable in their first appearance on the big stage.
Elyria fell behind 23-11 at halftime against Axtell in the first round of the Class 1A Division II State Tournament Thursday and could never get any offensive footing in a 53-26 loss.
Elyria, which ended its season 17-7, was down 17-9 after the first quarter and then struggled with two points in the second period.
“Our girls came out a little timid defensively, which is not characteristic of them,” Fields said. “I think it took them a little while to calm down and just play basketball. We definitely played a little more aggressively in the second quarter, but we never could get in a rhythm offensively.”
Rachel Adamyk, the all-time leading scorer in Elyria history, completed her career with a 12-point game and Moriah Redenbaugh added 10. But the other Eagles could combine for just four points.
“Axtell played very tough defense on Rachel,” Fields said. “She didn't have her typical 20 points, but there were definitely times where she showed what she can do to score the ball. Katherine Ropp did a great job securing the ball and containing their offense for the majority of the game.”
Adamyk, Redenbaugh and Ropp all played their final game.
“We will definitely miss those seniors,” Fields said.
The Eagle coach said it was a magical year and spurred on by great fan encouragement.
“The Elyria Christian family did an amazing job of traveling out to Dodge City and supporting our team,” he said. “It was great to hear so many elementary and middle school kids talking about how bad they want to come to state when they get to high school. Our girls have gotten a taste of what it is like now, and my hope is that this desire to strive for excellence will carry over to all of our current and future student athletes.”
Axtell plays Ingalls today in one semifinal, while Wetmore takes on Dighton in the other game. Wetmore, which entered Thursday just 12-12, upset top-seed Norwich in the first round.