By Todd Fertig

Silver Lake steamrolled Haven in the opening round of the Class 3A girls state tournament, 75-38, setting up a semifinal meeting on Friday with Hayden.

McKinleyKrugerStateHaven 3Senior McKinley Kruger scored 18 points on six 3-pointers, helping Silver Lake advance to the Class 3A semifinals with a 75-38 first-round win over Haven. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

MakenzieMcDanielStateHaven 1Senior Makenzie McDaniel scored 18 points to tie for team-high honors in Thursday's 75-28 Class 3A state win over Haven. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

The Silver Lake seniors were playing their eighth state tournament game, having qualified for the tournament every year of their careers.

They certainly appeared comfortable in the Hutchinson Sports Arena, with the Eagles hitting 10 of their 18 shots in the first quarter.

Senior McKinley Kruger set the tone by knocking down three 3-pointers in the period and all five starters scored in the opening period as Silver Lake jumped out to a 24-5 lead.

The second period was just like the first, with Silver Lake outscoring Haven 17-8 to build a 41-13 halftime lead.

“I think our girls were loose but also locked in and focused,” said Silver Lake coach Kyle Porter. “The first half went about as well as we could have expected. That’s a testament to our experience and our level of our focus with our senior group.”

Porter said he wasn’t surprised to see Kruger come up big early, noting Haven’s defensive strategy left them vulnerable to the outside shot. He said Kruger has been hitting better than 50 percent from beyond the arc for the past several weeks.

“Coming into the game, we weren’t quite sure what they were going to do defensively,” Porter said. “They started off playing man. We wanted to attack the scoring area and then take what the defense gave us.  

“McKinley is a knock-down shooter and when she’s locked in, she’s really tough.”

“I’m glad I got those off at the start because once I get started and get hot, it’s usually going to be a good game,” Kruger said. “I’ve been practicing hard with my team, and we all know our roles and do our best to fill those.”

Haven managed a little bit of a threat in the third quarter, but still trailed 58-28. With no running clock in state tournament action, Silver Lake’s reserves saw extensive time in the fourth period and expanded the lead.

KylePorterStateHaven 1Kyle Porter's Silver Lake Eagles improved to 24-0 with Thursday's 75-38 Class 3A state tournament win over Haven. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

“I think the challenge in the second half is to try to continue the standard after such a good first half,” Porter said. “Offensively we got out of rhythm a little bit and then we gave up some easy post touches on the block. That’s going to happen. You can’t stop a team like Haven for a whole four quarters. They’re going to find a way to make shots. It’s good for us to be able to weather a little bit of a run.”

KailynHanniStateHaven 1Sophomore Kailyn Hanni scored 12 points in Silver Lake's 75-38 win over Haven on Thursday in the Class 3A state tournament. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

Kruger’s 18 points were matched by Makenzie McDaniel to lead Silver Lake. Kailyn Hanni added 12. The Eagles hit nearly 50 percent of their shots, including eight 3-pointers. Haven failed to make a single 3-pointer.

The Eagles will face fifth-seeded Hayden at 4 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats won their quarterfinal match with Heritage Christian Academy, 48-33.

“Hayden is a really nice team,” Porter said. “They’ve got some size and athleticism. I think that each of their players has an offensive strength. They’re a really good team and we are happy for the opportunity to play them.”

After playing at state in Hutchinson in previous years, Kruger said Silver Lake feels a level of comfort in the arena on the Hutchinson Community College campus. She noted that Silver Lake students were dismissed from school to attend, giving the Eagles a supportive crowd.

“From the experience of being (in the state tournament) the past three years, this is basically like our home court,” Kruger said. “We have a great environment with all of our fans coming out. Even if it’s quite a drive for them, they still come support us and we thrive off of that.”


Haven             5 8 15 10 -- 38

Silver Lake   24 17 17 17 -- 75

Haven (16-8) – Brawner 3-14 2-2 8, Estill 1-3 0-0 2, Sienna DeFrain 7-14 6-8 20, Sorrel De Frain 1-4 2-5 4, Cooprider 1-2 0-0 2, Holzrichter 1-5 0-0 2, Percy 0-0 0-0 0, Nisly 0-0 0-0 0, Idacavage 0-1 0-0 , Williams 0-1 0-2 0, Minnis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-44 10-17 38.

Silver Lake (24-0) – Deiter 4-11 0-0 9, McDaniel 9-14 0-2 18, Hanni 6-8 0-0 12, K. Kruger 2-6 1-1 5, M. Kruger 6-14 0-0 18, Wehrli 1-4 2-2 5, Bolan 1-2 1-2 3, Wise 0-0 0-0 0, Zordel 1-1 0-0 2, Heiman 1-1 0-1 2, Brewster 0-0 1-2 1, Wende 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-63 5-10 75.

3-point goals – Silver Lake 8 (M. Kruger 6, Deiter 1, Wehrli 1). Total fouls – Haven 14, Silver Lake 11. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None. 

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