WAMEGO — The Wamego girls basketball team crushed visiting Highland Park 69-29 Wednesday night, advancing the Red Raiders to the Class 4A sub-state semifinals. There, No. 1-seeded Wamego (20-1) will face Topeka Hayden (16-4) on the road Friday night at 7:30.
“We were really rusty starting out in the first three or four minutes because we hadn’t played in over a week and we had a couple snow days where we were off and not doing anything,” Wamego head coach Jim Page said. “That was my biggest fear; having to get up and dust ourselves off. But, once we got going and got warmed up we were okay.”
Red Raiders sophomore Lanie Page — who stands at a solid 6-foot-2 — led the game with 22 points and scored 15 of those in the first half. Many of her points came from beyond the arc, where she sunk four 3-pointers – a couple of which were from downtown.
Lanie’s sister, Kaylee — a 6-foot-2 junior who has led Wamego all season with 21.3 points per game — totaled 13 points.
Senior Lakyn Rowden was also in double-digits for the Red Raiders with 11 points.
Highland Park junior Shavon Ray scored all but nine of her team’s points. Ray tallied 19 points, aided greatly by her five 3-pointers — a game-high.
“She really is a (spark) for us, and she’s been doing that for us,” Jim said about her daughter, Lanie. “She’s really been playing hard on the defensive end and that really carries over to her offense. She was open, people found her, and she hit her shots.”
Highland Park led early after a layup from Ray put the Lady Scots ahead 2-1, but Lanie hit a trey, then a jumper, then a basket in the paint, and Wamego was back in front 8-2.
Kaylee found herself to the free-throw line after Lanie had to go to the bench after coming down hard on her knee on the way up to the previous basket. Kaylee made both and Highland Park called a quick time out.
After the pause, Ray hit her first of many 3s in the game to bring the Lady Scots to within five, but a steal and layup by Wamego senior Rachel Griffitt swiped away any positive feelings from the Highland Park bench.
Kaylee added more free-throw makes and found a wide open Katie Baker under the basket with a long pass from near half-court to continue to dash any hopes of an upset by the Lady Scots.
After shaking off the pain in her knee, Lanie came back in the game and swished another 3-pointer to close out the opening quarter with Wamego well in charge with a 19-5 advantage.
Rowden got the second quarter going the way Lanie ended the previous one and nailed a trey from the corner.
Wamego went into halftime with a 38-14 lead and after a 3-pointer make from Kaylee, led 60-25 after the third quarter.
As well as Lanie and Kaylee played, the Red Raiders saw eight other players record a basket and many of them were precise shots.
“That’s going to be key for us, now,” Jim said. “We’re going to have to share the ball and everybody is going to have to shoot, because I really think that if you try, you can shut down two people. But if you have three, four, five people scoring, then that makes it pretty tough to shut a team down.
“We’re going to have to be at our best.”