Sam Staggs scored 16 points on Monday to lead Sutherland to a 47-33 win over Maxwell in the first round of the South Platte Valley Association girls' basketball tournament at North Platte Community College.
"Staggs did a good job of shooting," Sutherland coach Jason Gunderson said. "She did a good job of getting open and she hit shots."
Bailee Keller scored the first bucket of the game for Maxwell (7-6). But then Sutherland (9-4) established themselves with a 9-0 run keyed by Staggs.
The 5-foot-9 senior forward scored the first two baskets for the Sailors. Jalyne Schuster then scored her first two points of the game before Staggs hit a three-pointer with 3:40 left in the first quarter to make it 9-2.
Sutherland kept rolling. They took a 17-7 lead with 36 seconds remaining in the first after a basket by Morgan Simpson that followed a three by Kaley Stokey.
Things slowed down a bit for both teams in the second quarter and the Sailors led 26-13 at halftime.
Maxwell cut into the lead in the third quarter and the Wildcats came within five points late in the third.
"We settled into our defense more," Maxwell coach Mitch Armour said. "Sutherland shot red hot in the first half so we went to a different defense."
But it was too much for the Lady Cats to come back from. Kenzie White and Stokey scored the first baskets of the fourth quarter for the Sailors to extend the lead to 34-23 and Maxwell never came as close again.
"(Getting closer) would have made a big difference," Armour said. "Had we made another shot there. We could have made a bigger run and took control of the game. But Sutherland's a good team."
Gunderson said that his team did a good job of countering Maxwell in the second half.
"That was huge," he said. "Maxwell changed their defense up and that got us rattled. We finally figured out what their defense was doing and we isolated our playmakers again."
Sutherland will play No. 1-seed North Platte St. Pat's (12-2) in the SPVA semifinals on Thursday.
Maxwell 7 6 10 10 - 33
Sutherland 17 9 4 17 - 46
Maxwell (33)-Rachel Stubbs 5, Anna Crane 6, Bailee Keller 7, Josie Cox 9, Tracy Blake 6
Sutherland (46)-Kenzie White 6, Morgan Simpson 2, Kaley Stokey 8, Jalyne Schuster 9, Sam Staggs 16, Allison Stewart 6
Free Throws: M 4-10, S 3-5; Three Point Goals: M 1 (Stubbs), S 4 (Stokey 2, Staggs 2)