Free State girls suffer season-ending loss at Garden City

After a slow start, the Free State girls basketball team never clawed its way fully back.

The Firebirds scored just 4 points in the first quarter in an eventual 33-27 road loss to Garden City Thursday night during the sub-state opener. It was an one-possession game with 1:30 left, but FSHS was unable to complete the comeback. Free State, which was the ninth seed in the 6A west bracket, ended its season with a 10-11 record after falling to No. 8 Garden City.

Junior Haley Hippe netted a pair of free throws at the start of the game to give the Firebirds a slim lead over the Buffaloes. GCHS was in control for the rest of the night after that, though sophomore Shannon Clarke made a few spectacular plays.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Clarke swatted a 3-point attempt and netted a layup in transition. She also converted on a pair of and-one opportunities. Clarke finished with a team-high 18 points, while Hippe tallied 5 points. It marked the final game for Free State senior starter Sam Lawrence, who recently signed to play basketball for Washburn University.

Still, the Firebirds have plenty to look forward to next year. They ended their season by winning three of their last five games, and will lose just one starter. Junior Caely Kesten and sophomore Evy Harrell are set to return after strong campaigns along with Hippe and Clarke.

Free State 4 5 6 12 — 27

Garden City 9 8 2 14 — 33


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