FRONTENAC, Kan. — A solid effort wasn’t enough for the Nevada High School girls basketball team in the championship game of the Four State Raider Classic.
A strong finish led Blue Springs to a 55-44 victory over Nevada in the tournament’s title game on Saturday afternoon at Frontenac High School.
Up one entering the fourth quarter, the Wildcats outscored the Tigers 15-5 in the final frame to secure the event’s championship for the second straight season.
“I’m super proud of our girls,” Tigers coach Blake Howarth said. “The effort was there, they competed well. Blue Springs is a tough team. They’re a Class 6 school, we’re a Class 4 school, and we competed down to the wire.”
The Tigers had to finish the contest without the services of standout junior guard Clara Swearingen, who fouled out.
“It was tough,” Howarth said of finishing the game without Swearingen. “She’s our leading scorer and I think she’s only eight points away from 1,000 career points now. We needed her on the floor. I thought Maddy Majors did a good job of stepping up once Clara went out. Clara has to understand how they’re calling the game and not to pick up silly fouls. But that’s something we’ll be able to take away from this game and learn from.”
Nevada held a 31-27 halftime advantage, but the Wildcats outscored the Tigers 13-8 in the third quarter for a 40-39 lead.
Blue Springs started the fourth quarter on a 9-2 surge to take control. Nevada was plagued by empty possessions in the fourth quarter.
Nikole Schnell and Jayla Cornelius scored 15 points apiece for the Class 6 Wildcats (9-7).
Senior guard Maddy Majors led Nevada with 17 points. Katie Johnson scored 13 points and Swearingen added 11 points. Swearingen was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Nevada slipped to 15-4.
Howarth noted there’s a lot to like about how his team is currently playing.
“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” Howarth said. “We’ve shown a lot of growth since last year. I’m happy with what we accomplished in this tournament. There were years where we left here winless or with just one win. This year, we won two competitive games and played for the championship here, so I’m super proud.”