After defeating Emporia State on Friday in the quarterfinals of the MIAA conference tournament, Washburn took on the Tigers of Fort Hays State.
Washburn was the only MIAA team to have both the men and women in the semifinals of the MIAA tournament.
The Tigers were unbeatable in the first half. At one point in the game, they were shooting 9-12 from three-point land. After putting on a clinic in the first half, the Tigers cake walked to a 75-45 win.
To start the game off, the Ichabods and Tigers traded threes. It would have been back-to-back threes for both teams to start the game, but after senior forward, Taylor Blue nailed a three, Fort Hays settled for a layup.
What started off as a fast-paced scoring battled quickly turned into a defensive standstill. The Ichabods had a hard time running their offense, while Fort Hays was able to find major holes in the Ichabod defense.
With 4:50 left in the first quarter, Fort Hays led the Ichabods, 9-6. After a scoreless drought for both teams, Fort Hays went on a run to take a 20-8 lead. At the end of the quarter, right after Blue made a layup, the Tigers nailed a buzzer-beater from half court to take a 26-13 lead.
Fort Hays’ stifling defense continued into the second quarter. With 7:28 left, Washburn’s field goal percentage had dipped all the way down to 29.4. The Tigers had made more threes than the Ichabods had made shots. It took the Ichabods almost half of the second quarter to finally add on to their total.
With 4:41 left in the half, the Ichabods were trailing Fort Hays State 15-37. The threes kept raining from Fort Hays. While the Tiger offense was prospering, the Ichabods could never catch a break. At the end of the half, the Tigers were dominating in every aspect of the game, leading the Ichabods, 43-18.
The Tigers started the second half as dominate as they did in the first. The Ichabods were beginning to find a rhythm. For the first time since the beginning, the Ichabods had finally put together a string of scores.
Washburn finally seemed to start clicking on offense. With 2:29 left in the third quarter, the Ichabods had cut the lead to 32-51. However, the Tigers would end the quarter on a 7-3 run to grab a 58-35 lead.
The offenses of both teams had a hard time hitting shots. With 5:56 left in the game, the Ichabods were trailing, 44-64. They were out of options to make a comeback. The Tigers ended the Ichabods’ MIAA tournament run, defeating them, 75-48.
After a hot shooting first half, head coach Ron McHenry knew it was going to be an uphill battle for the Ichabods.
“When they come out shooting like that, you are going to be in trouble to start the game. We fought back at the half. We were shook up a little bit in that first obviously,” McHenry said.
From a defensive standpoint, the first half was not the way the Ichabods wanted to play. Blue knew that they give the Tigers too many open looks.
“I personally think it was just our defense. Just not getting out to pressure their shots or rush them off the line,” Blue said. “I think we did a better job in the second half, but they’re shooters. Shooters are going to shoot if you leave them open.”