After trailing Manhattan, 28-17, at halftime Friday night in the semifinals of the Firebird Winter Classic, sixth-seeded Free State limited the second-seeded Indians to four points in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for the host Firebirds, they mustered only three points in an extremely uneventful eight minutes and suffered a 52-36 loss.
"We had some opportunities in the third quarter," said Free State coach Bryan Duncan, whose team was 0-for-6 from the field and 3-of-8 from the foul line in the third quarter.
The Firebirds struggled from the stripe all night, sinking 15 of 31 free-throw attempts.
"That really hurt us," said senior Jamie Stanclift, who led Free State with seven points. "When you start missing shots, it's hard for some teams to get over that hump. That's clearly not a strength of ours. We kept shooting, but not with the same confidence."
Free State (4-7) didn't make a field goal in the second half until Chloe Hall's three-point play with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter. The Firebirds, who will play Blue Valley (5-7) at 12:30 p.m. today in the third-place game, finished 10-of-30 from the field.
Manhattan's Katy Davenport scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half as the Indians seized control. Manhattan led 10-9 after one quarter and pulled away by scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter.
"We started to feel like it was out of our hands," Stanclift said. "We let calls and officials effect us too much. That's when turnovers and things like that started to happen, and it just snowballed. Good teams don't let that happen."
Free State finished with 20 turnovers, compared to 11 for Manhattan.
The Indians (9-3) will meet Shawnee Heights (11-0) in the 2:30 p.m. championship game. Julia Hale led Heights with 16 points, and Jessica Mainz had 15 in a 56-34 victory over Blue Valley in the other semifinal.
|Manhattan||10||18||4||20 -- 52|
|Free State||9||8||3||16 -- 36|