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Free throws help put Lady Cats in sub-state championship

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone

Louisburg senior Brianne Kuhlman knocked down 7-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to help the Lady Cats to a 51-39 win Tuesday over Chanute in the sub-state semifinals.

Any coach will say how important free throws are in a close game and that was no different Tuesday for Louisburg.

In what was a tight contest in the Class 4A sub-state semifinals against Chanute, the Lady Cats knocked down 10 of 12 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes to earn a 51-39 win over the Blue Comets.

“Free throws are huge and I tell them that all the time,” Louisburg coach Adrianne Lane said. “It is the difference between winning and losing. We made 10 down the stretch and we won by 12. It is a huge difference there if we don’t make them.”

Louisburg stayed calm and collected at the line, especially senior Brianne Kuhlman. The 3-year starting point guard knocked down 7 of 8 free throws to help seal the win for the Lady Cats. Emma Prettyman also hit a pair of free throws and Emma Lohse made one late.

After a close first half where Louisburg led by just three at halftime, it was the Lady Cats’ defense that played a big role in the third quarter. Louisburg held Chanute to just four points in the frame and was able to build an 11-point lead early in the fourth.

Emma Prettyman goes up for a shot Tuesday at home against Chanute.

The Blue Comets made one final run at it as they trimmed the Louisburg lead to 37-35 midway through the fourth, but senior Delanie Tally knocked in a 3-pointer to give the Lady Cats a little cushion.

Louisburg took care of the rest at the free-throw line as it earned a spot in the sub-state championship with the win.

“I was so proud of them to just stick with it and keep playing hard,” Lane said. “Obviously the free throws were huge. I think we made like 10 of them down the stretch. I think in that third quarter too we came out with more energy and got a lead.”

Chanute also employed things the Lady Cats hadn’t seen most of the season, including a zone trap near half-court. On offense, the Blue Comets ran a lot of motion and cuts that allowed them to get some easy baskets.

Prime Accounting
Louisburg junior Ashley Branine tries for a steal Tuesday against Chanute.

“Their defense was something we really haven’t seen yet this year,” Lane said. “I was a little worried about it going in because they play that zone defense really high. The second half we did a little better job of knowing when to attack it, versus just passing around it. We got better as the game went on.

“We hadn’t really seen what Chanute does on offense either with all the motion and different cuts they made. That is why we didn’t pressure all that much either. They did a lot of back cuts and that is not something we are used to guarding. I do think that Chanute is developing into a good team. That is the same team that played us here last year and they have gotten better.”

Kuhlman, who did a lot her damage at the free-throw line, led the Lady Cats in scoring with 14 points and also had four rebounds and three assists. Adyson Ross finished with 13 points and four rebounds.

Adyson Ross goes up for two of her 13 points Tuesday against Chanute.

Prettyman, who was also a factor on the inside, finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Tally added a pair of 3-pointers and three assists, while senior Ava Baker had a team-high three steals and five points. 

The Lady Cats (15-6) are now one game away from the state tournament as they host Parsons (15-6) at 6 p.m. tonight for the sub-state championship. Parsons rallied from 16 points down to defeat Holton, 63-54, in their semifinal contest.

Louisburg knows it will be another tough challenge as it tries for its second state tournament appearance in three years.

“The girls are really excited,” Lane said. “We want to get back to Salina. That is the ultimate goal. Some of them were there two years ago, didn’t get to play a lot, but they felt what it was like. They want a chance to get on that floor and show what they are capable of.”

LOU 10 13 11 17 — 51

CHA 9 11 4 15 — 39

LOUISBURG (15-6): Brianne Kuhlman 3-5 7-8 14; Adyson Ross 6-13 0-0 13; Emma Prettyman 3-6 2-2 8; Delanie Tally 2-10 0-0 6; Ava Baker 2-9 0-0 5; Emma Lohse 1-5 1-2 3; Ashley Branine 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 17-48 10-12 51. 3-point field goals: 5, (Tally 2, Kuhlman, Baker, Ross)