The Pilot Grove Lady Tigers basketball team punched its ticket to the championship in the 38th annual Wildcat Classic in Slater Thursday night after beating the Santa Fe Chiefs in a No. 2 versus No. 3 matchup 49-45.
The Lady Tigers, improving to 14-2 on the season, led Santa Fe 12-10 after first period’s end and 31-18 at the half. However, in the second half, Santa Fe rallied back with a 14-11 advantage to cut the lead to 10 at 42-32. Meanwhile, in the final period, the Lady Chiefs made it even closer by outscoring Pilot Grove 13-7 to make it a four point ballgame.
Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott said Santa Fe is the second best team her team has played this season.  
“We did not score the first four minutes, but our press got us going,” Scott said.  “We played very well the last 12 minutes of the half, scoring 31 points.  We were to get steals off our press.  We hit our shots and free throws.  Our defense carried us all game.  Our weakness in the second half was defense boards.  We allowed Santa Fe to score off missed shots in the second half.  We went to a delay game in the fourth quarter.  The girls like the delay game, however, we missed some easy shots off the delay but hit our free throws.  We did some really good events all game.  Chloe Schlotzhauer had an outstanding game on both ends of the floor.  Emily had a nice game also leading us in scoring and rebounding.   Melanie Wolfe also had a good game on both ends of the floor.  This was a total team win.”
While beating Santa Fe for the first time in five years, Scott said this is also the third tournament championship for the Lady Tigers this season.
Senior Emily Schupp finished the game with a double-double for Pilot Grove with 22 points and 10 rebounds. She also had four steals and three assists.
Chloe Schlotzhauer had 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four assists for the Lady Tigers while Melanie Wolfe added eight points, nine rebounds and one steal, Grace Phillips four points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists, Abby Schupp three points, six assists and four rebounds and Natalie Rentel with one point.
For Santa Fe, Carrigan Smith had a team high 21 points.
In other games on Thursday, the Glasgow girls upended Slater 46-36 while the Sweet Springs Lady Greyhounds defeated Sacred Heart 55-46. On the boys side of the bracket, Fayette toppled Sweet Springs 71-54 while Sacred Heart knocked off Jamestown 76-46.
Tournament action will continue tonight, with the Sacred Heart girls playing Slater in the seventh place game at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Pilot Grove boys versus Jamestown for seventh place at 6, Glasgow girls versus Sweet Springs in the consolation finals at 7:30 and Santa Fe boys versus Sacred Heart for fifth place at 9.
On Saturday, the Fayette girls will take on Santa Fe in the third place game at 1 p.m., followed by the Glasgow boys versus Sweet springs for third place at 2:30, Marshall girls versus Pilot Grove in the championship game at 4 and Slater boys versus Fayette for the title at 5:30.