Jennies Escape with Win over Tigers

The No. 6 Fort Hays State University Tigers earned a win against No. 3 Missouri Western State University to play against the Jennies in the MIAA Semifinals. The Jennies have an overall record of 24-3 while the Tigers are 20-11. This may not have been the prettiest game the Jennies have played, but they pulled through in the end. The Jennies beat the Tigers 66-64 and advanced to the championship. 

 Both schools brought their cheerleaders, dance teams, mascots, and athletic bands to cheer on their teams. The crowd was energetic as lots of UCM fans came to the Municipal Auditorium. 

  “It was a special crowd a special event,” head coach Dave Slifer said. “ So that what a fun atmosphere and I’m so glad that you guys brought that up because that’s why we do this.”

  The starting five for the Jennies are Brooke Littrell, Ashley Tull, Olivia Nelson, Robin Campbell, and Lauren Frost. The Tigers starting five are Olivia Hollenbeck, Sydney Golladay, Kate Dilsaver, Katie Wagner, and Megan Earney. 

The Jennies struggled in the first half against the Tiger’s defense and offense. Both teams committed seven turnovers in the first half. The Tigers gained seven points from the turnovers while the Jennies had two. The Tigers had the largest lead and lead time with nine points and nine minutes.

  There were many penalties called and some that weren’t called. The fans were unhappy with some calls. 

  At halftime, the Jenniesl lead by three points 25-22. In the third quarter, the Jennies looked beat up as the Tigers got points to take the lead into the fourth quarter. The Tigers were using the same strategies all night to keep the Jennies on their toes. 

“So I think it was good that we just kept mostly my composure and kept the highs and the bench energy was really great and that helped us keep the energy that we needed to succeed,” Tull said. 

  The last 10 minutes of the game were nerve-racking for everyone. Tigers and Jennies were in shock at what had happened. Toward the end of the fourth quarter, the score got close. With 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers had the ball in their possession. Tigers Jessie Sallach drove the ball down the court and with two seconds left, she tossed the ball into the basket from the three-point line and made the shot to put the game into overtime. 

  The whole auditorium was in shock at what had happened. The game went into overtime. The teams had five minutes to score points. Throughout overtime, the score was close. The crowd was on their feet hoping that their team will win. The game came down to one possession with seven seconds left. Tull worked around the Tigers defense and made a layup to put the Jennies up as time expired.

“Obviously when that shot went in, we were all a little down but the crowd was insane. The bench was insane,” Nelson said. “Everybody was picking us up and encouraging us and I think it was a great team win.”

  After yesterday’s victory, Slifer has earned his 400th win in his career over 19 years. 

  The Jennies have advanced to the National Championship to take on the No. 5 Missouri Southern State University Lions. The tipoff time is 3:30 pm. The last time the two met, Lions beat Jennies 72-69. The winner of today’s game will be crowned MIAA Champions.