Emporia Final: Free State loses to Wichita Heights, 73-49: Wichita Heights was too much for Free State, scoring 41 points in the second half, compared to Free State's 23. The Firebirds will play in the third-place game on Saturday at 10 a.m. against the winner of Olathe South vs. Shawnee Mission West.
Senior guard Jenna Brantley was the lone Firebird in double figures Friday with 16 points. Senior guard Lauren Kimball had a team-high five assists, but was limited in the second half because of foul trouble. Kimball ended up fouling out of the game.
Wichita Heights forward Shekera Copeland led all scores with 22.
3:30 FOURTH QUARTER: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 65-42: The Falcons have blown the game open and lead by 23. Senior Jenna Brantley leads Free State with 14 points.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 52-34: Free State's starting guards, seniors Lauren Kimball and Jenna Brantley, had four fouls each at the end of the third quarter. As a result, coach Bryan Duncan was forced to sit them for the fourth period. Wichita Heights took advantage with the senior ball-handlers out of the game. Shekera Copeland has 20 points to lead the Falcons.
2:53 THIRD QUARTER: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 43-30: Wichita Heights opened the second half with a different look, switching from a zone to a man-to-man defense. The switch has worked so far, as the Falcons have outscored the Firebirds, 11-4, in the second half. Senior guard Jenna Brantley leads Free State with 10 points.
HALFTIME: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 32-26: Free State climbed back into the game and cut the deficit to six at halftime. Free State coach Bryan Duncan played senior guard Allie Hock, who typically comes off the bench, practically the entire second quarter because of her ability to find seems in zone defenses.
Wichita Heights played a 2-3 trap zone on defense for the entire first half. At the beginning of the game, it frustrated Free State, as evidenced by its five turnovers. The Firebirds eventually got into an offensive rhythm against the zone. They only have seven turnovers at the half. Hock leads Free State with eight points at the half, including two three-pointers. Senior forward Kelsey Harrison has seven. Senior guard Lauren Kimball has four assists at the half.
Wichita Heights forward Shekera Copeland leads all scores with 18 at the break.
2:09 SECOND QUARTER: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 30-23: Free State has been more comfortable offensively against the Falcons' trapping zone defense. Brantley and Hock hit back-to-back three-pointers to keep it close in the first half. Copeland has been too much for Free State, accounting for 18 of the Falcons' 30 points.
5:28 SECOND QUARTER: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 22-13: The Firebirds have had a difficult time stopping Copeland, who already has 16 points in the first half. Only two other Falcons players have scored. Harrison leads Free State with seven points.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Free State trails Wichita Heights, 16-11: Copeland leads all scores with 12 points after the first quarter. Copeland has hit mostly mid-range jump shots from the post position. Hock leads Free State with three.
Wichita Heights uses its speed on defense to create turnovers. Free State had five in the first quarter. The Falcons primarily use a zone trap on defense that has frustrated Free State guards.
Preview: The Free State High girls basketball team (17-6) will take on Wichita Heights (22-1) today at 3 p.m. from White Auditorium in Emporia. The winner will advance to tomorrow's Class 6A state championship game.
Senior guard Jenna Brantley is coming off a 19-point performance in Thursday's 56-53 overtime victory against Washburn Rural. Wednesday marked the first state playoff victory of all-time for Bryan Duncan's Firebirds.
Wichita Heights is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 14 in the country.