Sutherland took control early and never let Maxwell get back into the game on Tuesday to win 42-21 in the subdistrict semifinals at Hershey.
The Lady Sailors (12-9) advance to play North Platte St. Pat’s (20-3) for the C2-11 championship on Thursday. Maxwell ends their season with a 12-10 record.
“It’s a real good win for us,” Sutherland coach Jason Gunderson said. “(We had) confidence in everything. Maxwell beat us last week and to come back and beat them, brings some real good confidence for us.”
Sutherland took a 9-2 lead when Haiden Kreber scored her third straight basket with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
Maxwell then ended the opening period on a strong note when Birkleigh Vrbka banked in a three at the buzzer. But that didn’t keep the Sailors from picking up steam in the second. Katelyn Iske made a jumper just inside the three-point arc. Kreber then followed with a pair of free throws before Bailee Fear made a three-pointer from the right corner to put Sutherland up by double figures at 16-5 with 3:14 remaining in the first half.
The score remained the same until Sydney Mullin scored on a putback for Maxwell with a little over a minute left in the first half. But Fear came right back on the following possession and drained another three to score the last points of the half and make it 19-7.
“We played really good as a team,” Gunderson said. “We took what was there, we didn’t force anything. We worked inside the paint and inside-out.”
The status quo reigned in the third quarter and Sutherland led 31-13 going into the fourth. Maxwell made a final push early in the fourth. Janie Sommer scored the first four points of the period and a basket by Tahjzha Botts brought the Wildcats to within 31-19.
But the Sailors finished them off with a 9-0 run to put the game away and the Lady Wildcats didn’t score again until Mullin made a pair of free throws with a little over a minute left. Those points ended up being the last scored for Maxwell this season as Sutherland moved on to the subdistrict finals.
“Their defense was incredible,” Lady Wildcat coach Kassie Schuett said. “I haven’t seen a zone defense that is that well put together. We moved the ball but they put pressure on our point guards and our guards, which made it hard for us. They took away our leading scorer (Grace Sommer) and she didn’t get any points.”
It was a disappointing end for Maxwell but Schuett said it doesn’t take away from what was the best season for the team in over a decade.
“I just told the girls in the locker room they overcame so much,” the first-year coach, Schuett, said. “We haven’t had a winning record since 2006 and we ended 12-10 this year. Yeah, it’s not the best but it’s a great start. They accomplished so much and they beat some of those teams people don’t think they can beat. That’s a really good start and we’re just gonna take it over into next year.”
Sutherland: 9-10-12-11 – 42
Maxwell: 5-2-6-8 – 21
Sutherland (42)-Bailee Fear 16, Katelyn Iske 3, Haiden Kreber 18, Erica Hopping 1, Lisa Muench 4
Maxwell (21)-Birkleigh Vrbka 3, Sydney Mullin 8, Tahjzha Botts 4, Maddie Heinzen 2, Janie Sommer 4
Free Throws: S 10-20, M 4-4; Three Point Goals: S 4 (Fear 4), M 1 (Vrbka)