BETHANY—Taylor Mendell was on fire.
So was her little sister Maci.
And after a poor shooting performance in last week’s area final, it was a welcome sight for No. 3 Lomega in a 78-48 rout of No. 8 Buffalo Valley in the Class B state quarterfinals Thursday night at Southern Nazarene.
The duo combined to score 51 points with Taylor dropping 34, 10 shy of the single-game record set by Newkirk’s Kinzie Glover in 2005.
“I told her at halftime I might let her (go for it),” Lomega coach Kevin Lewallen said. “I knew they were going to come out and box-and-1 her or something in the second half and try to slow her down.
Mendell scored 24 points in the first half and was limited to 10 in the second half, but she exited the game just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.
“Just trying to get the team going,” Mendell said. “We got off to a really slow start, so I felt like it was my responsibility to get us going being the senior and the captain.”
Lomega (25-4) plays the winner of Red Oak and Hammon in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday in State Fair Arena for a chance to return to the championship game after falling short last season.
The Raiders trailed early in the game until Mendell started shooting. The senior scored eight quick points in the first to turn the game in Lomega’s favor. She finished with 10 points in the first and 11 in the second.
Maci Mendell, just a freshman, caught fire in the second, scoring 10 of her 17 points, as the Raiders jumped to a 40-21 lead and Maci had some redemption for missing crucial free throws earlier in the postseason.
“She missed two game-winning free throws and she got it at our house a lot,” Taylor said. “She stepped up tonight. I was proud.”
Buffalo Valley, making its first appearance in the state tournament for the first time since 1997, committed 22 turnovers and led twice to start the game.
Six-foot-3 junior Amber Collins led the Lady Buffs with 21 points and 11 rebounds.