Lady Chiefs dominate way to Slater crown
he Santa Fe girls' basketball team took its second tournament title of the month Saturday by completing a dominating sweep of the 34th Wildcat Classic at Slater.
The top-seeded Lady Chiefs won all three games by a total margin of 89 points, including a 64-34 rout of Pilot Grove in the final, for their first Classic championship since 1992.
"I thought our girls had a real good showing," remarked Santa Fe head coach Jeremy Hobbs. "The first two quarters of our first-round game were sluggish, but I thought we played pretty well to finish the week."
The Lady Tigers were playing without three-time all-CCAA senior guard Melissa Schlotzhauer, who was at a softball tournament, but one could only speculate on how much of a difference she would have made.
The Lady Chiefs' defense swarmed Pilot Grove, forcing 30 turnovers -- 21 in the first half, 15 on steals.
"That's how we want to play -- create those opportunities and get out running a little bit," Hobbs said.
Santa Fe jumped out to a 10-3 lead and scored the last eight points of the first quarter for a 20-7 cushion.
The second frame was more of the same, with the Lady Chiefs getting 12 takeaways -- including seven in a row during one stretch.
They also controlled the glass, getting more offensive rebounds (16) than their opponent had defensive boards (13) during the half.
"Our girls in the paint and even our guards crash," Hobbs noted. "A lot of our good shots come from cleaning that glass."
The second half began with three quick buckets by senior Lexi Smith to stretch the margin to 24 points, but Pilot Grove (13-6) found a little life when senior Allison Weekley hit a pair of three-pointers.
"They were breaking us down off the dribble and kicking it out," Hobbs explained. "We had to talk about a little bit, but they responded to it."
The answer for Santa Fe playing a tighter man-to-man and pounding the ball inside, where freshman Sadie Limback converted three times during the final three minutes of the period. She made three more goals during the final stanza, the Lady Chiefs pulling away with a 12-0 finish.
Limback wound up with a game-high 19 points and 13 rebounds while her older sister -- junior Kylie, coming off a 31-point performance against Marshall on Wednesday -- logged 17 points, 12 boards and five blocked shots.
Smith had 13 points, four steals and three assists and seniors Kourtney Chiddix and Katey Peters combined for nine thefts.
The Lady Chiefs reached the championship game by smashing Fayette 62-27 in the first round last week Monday and with a 56-33 lopsided victory over Class 4 Marshall in the semifinal round last Wednesday.
In the victory over Marshall, the Lady Chiefs had a top-notch game from Kylie Limback with 31 points, including 20 in the second half. Smith finished with 13 points.
Taylor Crawford scored 12 points for the Lady Owls.