Lady Tigers going to state after knocking off South Gray

Jennifer Stultz
St. John coach Danny Smith encourages his team during sub-state action last week. The Tigers defeated South Gray, one of the best teams in 1A basketball, before dropping a hard-fought game to Ingalls.

The St. John-Hudson Lady Tigers knocked off the 21-2 South Gray Rebels 38-32 on Friday, March 6 before a disappointing loss to the Ingalls Bulldogs on Saturday.

“We knew we had to come out and play hard, and we did it! It was a very good win for us,” said St. John sophomore Darby Smith

“The South Gray win was a huge win for us. That's the biggest upset I think I've ever been a part of,” said St. John’s head coach Danny Smith. “They were ranked 4th in the state and were 21-2. The girls believed we could beat them and executed our game plan perfectly. Our two seniors came up huge for us and the entire team played great defense, rebounded and made free throws.”

Against the Ingalls Bulldogs on Saturday, the Lady Tigers struggled to make shots.

“We might've been worn out from the night before, I'm not sure. But I know we were down 9 and cut it to 1. There was no quit in our girls. We just ran out of time,” Coach Smith said.

With regular season over, Smith said his team would really miss their two seniors, Bree Meyer and Erin Crissman.

“They have been great kids and great leaders. But I think they've put us on the right track to keep our team headed on the right direction," he said.

The Lady Tigers advanced to the 2A Girls State Basketball Tournament as Sub-State runners-up. They play in Manhattan this week.

St. John-Hudson Tigers (17-6)

Coach: Danny Smith (18th season, 227-100)

School’s past state experience: Fifth qualification under Smith, won state in 2009, runner-up in 2012

Statistical leaders: Tara Nelson 16 ppg, 8 rpg

Probable starters: Bree Meyer, so.; Jackie Rios, jr.; Torre Fisher, jr.; Paige Doran, jr.; Tara Nelson, sr.

All 6 of St. John’s losses this season were to ranked teams Central Plains. Its the first season since 2013 that both St. John boys and girls have qualified for state.