Wellington girls exit State Tournament in round one

Create: 03/09/2017 - 22:34
An upset wasn't on the menu at the Tony's Pizza Event Center (The Big Pizza Oven) in Salina for sixth-seeded Wellington, losing 63-49 to three-seed Bishop Miege in the opening round of the 4A, Div. I State Championship Tournament. The game was, however, much closer than the final score would indicate. 
Wellington's Lauryn Snipes nabbed a quick two points to open scoring in the contest, after a steal by Tayland French, Snipes followed that up with a three pointer from well behind the arch; it was the first five of the game and the first five of her 24 points on the night. Avery Rusk made a two pointer shortly following the first points from Bishop Miege. With 6:31 to go in the first, Wellington had a 7-2 lead. 
Not so fast! Miege is the defending back-to-back-to-back State Champions for a reason. They closed the gap quickly, with 5:10 to go the Lady-Stags had tied it up at 11. Just a few moments later BMHS was in the midst of a 13-0 run, with a 20-11 lead, with 3:46 left. Wellington's Chloe Wilson broke the drought for the Lady-Crusaders with a two-pointer with 3:35 remaining in the first. Wilson's basket started a 6-0 run for Wellington, that saw a field goal by Rusk and free-throws from Shayland French. After one it was 20-17 BMHS.
Tayland French dropped in a two to start the second to extend the Wellington run to 8 points. Bishop Miege soon answered with five quick points of their own. Snipes went 1-2 at the line after a foul then the Lady-Stags answered with a three-pointer. Mid-way through second WHS was down 28-20. Wellington's offense sputtered for the next couple of minutes, yet keeping Miege honest with a free-throw here and there from Snipes. Shayland French made a field goal with 1:10 to go, sister Tayland added two free-throws to pull within three with about 30 seconds left. Wilson fouled as the halftime buzzer sounded, Miege made one of the two free-throws and their lead was 33-29 headed into the third.
Wellington's free-throws were keeping them in the game, going 14/16 in the first half. Miege had more than double the team fouls with 13 to Wellington's six. From the field the Lady-Stags were out-shooting Wellington 50 to 41 percent.  Snipes lead WHS with 10 points at the half, she was 2/9 from the field, 5/6 from the line. 
Snipes came out firing again, nailing a three to pull WHS to within one point of BMHS to begin the third. After a trip to the other end that saw Miege regain a three point lead, Snipes came back and fired in a two. The Lady-Stags kept answering, with 5:34 left in the quarter their lead was 41-34, WHS called a timeout to stop the bleeding. 
Snipes buried a three with 4:24 on the clock to pull Wellington back within two, she was also making plays on defense, not wanting the season to end in round one; she lead all scorers late in the third with 20 points. From the 3:58 mark all the way to the ending buzzer of the third, no points were scored by either team. Miege took a three-point lead, 42-39 into the final quarter.
Miege fed the scoreboard early in the fourth with a fast two. Tayland French drove through the lane on the next possession, was fouled and got the bucket; she wasn't able to complete the three-point play but it did get Wellington back to within three. After another Miege basket, Rusk drained a two it was 46-43 BMHS with 6:26 to go. Miege kept fouling and Wellington kept swishing free-throws, Snipes got the Lady-Crusaders within two with 5:16 left. 
Wellington needed to come up with at least three defensive stops in the last four minutes, that number grew with 3:30 to go as Miege's Hunter Bentley sunk a three to give the Lady-Stags a seven point advantage. Wellington got one of those stops with 2:35 left after a Miege travel, Snipes' shot on the other end was blocked. The BMHS lead hovered between 10 and 11 points in the final minutes, eventually to 14. Wellington's two seniors, Snipes and Tayland French were taken out of the game inside 30 seconds to the standing ovation of the Wellington crowd. Final score, Bishop Miege 63 WHS 49.
Snipes finished with 24 points, tied for the leading scorer in the game with Miege's Bentley; Snipes was also the leading rebounder for WHS with eight. Wellington ended the contest shooting 30 percent from the field to BMHS' 50, both teams finished 72 percent from the line. It was a tough loss for Wellington, as the season ends with a 17-6 record.
Points breakdown
Snipes 24
Rusk 8
Tayland French 7
Shayland French 6
Wilson 3
Taryn Stoddard 1

Steve Sturgis photo
Game pics coming soon on wellington.cc

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Nate Jones
Nate graduated from Belle Plaine High School in 2005, then attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. He obtained his bachelors degree in Communications in 2009, then went on to work in several areas of media, including graphic design, radio and print. In 2013, Nate began working at Studio 55 and is loving every second! Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @filmNJones, or e-mail nate.studio55@sutv.com.