Beth Holmes

Abilene senior Beth Holmes (1) fights for a rebound below the Abilene basket Tuesday night in Wamego. The Lady Raiders won the game 64-30.

WAMEGO – It was a tough night for the defending North Central Kansas League Abilene Cowgirl basketball team as it dropped its second league game of the season, this time to Wamego 64-30 Tuesday night in Wamego.

Wamego snapped a Cowgirl winning streak that dated back to 2014.

The running Red Raiders pressured the young Cowgirls and jumped out to 21-8 first quarter lead limiting them to one field goal by sophomore Joy Clemence. Senior Beth Holmes made a pair of free throws for the Cowgirls, as did junior Abi Lillard and sophomore Jenna Hayes in the opening eight minutes.

The pressure defense applied by the Lady Raiders forced the Cowgirls into 22 turnovers and one of its poorest shooting night of the season connecting on seven of 23 from the floor with two of seven coming from the three-point range. The Lady Raiders shot over 54% from the field going 24 of 44 on the night and they connected on seven of 19 three-point attempts.

“They are talented and deep, especially at the guard position,” Abilene head coach Mike Liby said. “They have guards that come off the bench that are just as good or better than their starters. They are very young and they will be good for quite awhile.”

Holmes led the Cowgirls in scoring with 15 points with 13 coming in the second half as Abilene was trying to claw their way back into the contest. Lillard finished with seven and Hayes had five.

The Lady Raiders were led by sophomore Paige Donnelly with 19 points. Donnely was one several young athletic guards that Wamego was able to insert in the lineup against the Cowgirls. The 5-7 starting guard rattled in three threes for the home team on Tuesday. Freshman Ashten Pierson added nine points to the winning total while freshman Cadence Kueker popped in seven points, all coming in Wamego’s 19-point second quarter. Junior Toree Hoobler finished with six points for the Lady Raiders.

Wamego took a 40-15 lead into the locker room at halftime and then Donnely pumped in seven of Wamego’s 16 third quarter points to give them a 56-24 lead going into the fourth.

Holmes opened the Abilene third with her first three of the night and then stole the ball for a nice layup midway through the quarter and then finished the period with another two-pointer with 45 seconds remaining.

Holmes hit her second three of the game in the running-clock fourth quarter on her way to scoring all six of the Cowgirl points in the period.

“I thought we made some things happen but they are quicker team,” Liby said. “It is difficult to duplicate that speed and pressure in our practices to get ready for a team like this. Not every team will be as quick as Wamego is and we’ll just have to regroup. They are also hard to contend with because they are long and physical.”

Abilene falls to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in conference play. The Cowgirls will host league-leading Clay Center Friday night and then have a make-up game with Marysville on Saturday also in Abilene.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

Scoring Summary:

Wamego 64, Abilene 30

Abilene 8 7 9 6 – 30

Wamego 21 19 16 8 – 64

Abilene – Holmes 15, Lillard 7, Hayes 5, Snowball 1, Clemence 2. Totals: 5 (2) 14-23 30.

Wamego – Billings 3, Donnelly 19, Alexander 8, Hoobler 6, Denney 2, Pierson 9, Alderson 5, Beachler 2, Kueker 7, Hamman 3. Totals: 17 (7) 9-12 64.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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