Maize girls basketball falls in final game of state tournament

Casey Loving, Ellie Stucky, and Abby McCoy

Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the girls basketball postseason was cut short Thursday with the state tournament ending in the first round. The Eagles fell short to Topeka Seaman, losing 54-44 in the final game of the KSHSAA basketball season.

The decision to cancel the remainder of the tournament came from growing concerns for fans and players following the rapid spread of the Coronavirus.

“After the conclusion of the quarterfinal round, the 2020 KSHSAA State Basketball Tournament will be canceled,” the organization said on Twitter. “The KSHSAA regrets the lost opportunity for teams and players that have worked to achieve their goals.” 

The girls trailed the Vikings 12-9 at the end of the first quarter. They remained behind at the half, trailing 25-17. At this time, the announcement to cease tournament play at the end of the game was made.

“I understand the decision,” principal Chris Botts said. “I feel bad for the student-athletes who worked so hard to get here, especially seniors. This is what you work so hard for. With that in mind though, I get the rationale behind it. Ultimately, we want to keep everybody safe.”

Botts said he is saddened by the breadth of damage done by the outbreak.

“We have so many activities that we look to for a pastime,” he said. “I think morale throughout is down.”

The Eagles came back in the third, taking the lead briefly, though they ended the quarter down 38-32.

“We knew that they were already a good team because we played them in our tournament and we lost by six,” senior Cassie Onwugbufor said.

She said the Eagles weren’t executing the gameplan early before they charged back in the third quarter.

 “We stuck in there for a while, but then time runs out and you can only score so many points,” she said. “But I’m proud of how our season went.”

Though they fell in the final game, coach Jerrod Handy expressed pride in his players for their season as a whole.

Any time you make it to state and you finish 16-7, that’s a good season,” Handy said. “I’m really proud of the girls. They bat hard. It didn’t start out very good, but they finished hard and finished the game.”