Abi Lillard

CLAY CENTER – Fighting to the very end, the Abilene Cowgirls put up a valiant effort that came up short against the North Central Kansas League co-champion Clay Center Lady Tigers 39-29 Friday night in the Class 4A Sub-State finals at Clay Center.

Taking the second higher seeded team to the wire this week, the Cowgirls came up just short in their try for a return trip to the State Tournament.

Clay Center advances and will play for the second time in two years when the tournament begins next week in Salina, they played in Class 3A a year ago.

Once again, the Cowgirls defense held an offensive team far below its average points per game. Abilene basically took Clay Center post Clara Edwards out rhythm as she only scored two field goals in the paint for the Tigers.

Shelby Siebold and Lexi Liby were the workhorses for the Lady Tigers making threes from outside. Siebold finished with a game high 13 points to lead Clay Center and Liby tossed in 11. Between the pair, they made six threes for the Tigers.

Abilene battled and kept the game close, as close as three points to close out the third quarter, before the Tigers went to the free throw line in the final minutes.

Abilene sophomore Jenna Hayes led the Cowgirls with 12 points while senior Beth Holmes finished with 10.

It was a tough season for the Cowgirls (6-16) advanced to the finals after an exciting upset victory over Wamego on Tuesday. Abilene must say so long to a talented group of seniors in Holmes, Jade Vopat, Hannah Snowball, Deserae Meade and Annie Bathurst, who all contributed this season.

Clay Center (16-6) heads to Salina along with Nickerson (20-2), Buhler (14-8), Chapman (18-4), Eudora (20-2), KC Piper (20-2), Miege (20-2) and Baldwin (17-5)

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

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