GARNETT -- Fort Scott High School's volleyball team was confident that they could reach the finals of the Anderson County Class 4A Sub-State Volleyball Tournament here Saturday. However, top-seeded Chanute wouldn't let the Tigers advance any further and earned the berth to the Class 4A State Tournament at Salina this weekend.
The Blue Comets (34-3) defeated the Tigers in two games, 25-17, 25-16, in the final.
"Being the sixth seed and being able to finish second says a lot about the girls' effort," Fort Scott head coach Carol Bingesser said. "I was very proud of the girls."
Chanute opened the tournament with a 25-9, 25-21 sweep of its rival, Iola. At the same time on the other court, No. 2 Parsons had some trouble in beating No. 7 Prairie View but won 25-15, 21-25, 25-23.
The Tigers (18-19) then toppled No. 3 Girard (24-13) by scores of 25-19, 25-22. Mallory Shelton had 13 kills, 10 digs and 4 blocks in leading Fort Scott. Ericah Shoemaker had 5 kills. Setters Kenzie Heatherly and Maddi Allen each had 10 assists and libero Paige Denton picked up 12 digs.
"Against Girard we started off great," Bingesser said. "We had great front-row defense with 6 double blocks and one solo block. Mallory was just smashing the ball. Ericah did a great job finding the holes with her left-side attacks. Paige really gave our setters a good opportunity for a kill."
In the final first-round match, No. 4 Pittsburg swept host Anderson County, 25-21, 25-17.
Chanute then beat Pittsburg (23-16), the Southeast Kansas League champion, 25-17, 25-19, in one semifinal. The Tigers were downing Parsons at the same time on the other court, 25-14, 25-22. Shelton had 14 kills, 7 digs and 3 blocks for Fort Scott. Sidney Maycumber recorded 6 kills. Heatherly and Allen again had 10 assists each. Denton had 10 digs.
"Blocking continued to be strong for us against Parsons, 6 double blocks and 3 solo blocks," Bingesser said. "Sidney came in at left side and really found the open spots to score."
In the final, Shelton had 6 kills while Shoemaker had 4. Allen dished out 8 assists and Heatherly handed out 6.
"We came out strong and it was a tight game up until the 16th point when Chanute rallied to the finish with their height advantage in the first set," Bingesser said. "In the second set. Chanute got on a roll converting every attack.
"Chanute is a tough team. They towered over our front row defense, making it difficult for our blockers to get touches. It was a hard-fought battle but I couldn't have been prouder of how well our girls competed."
Chanute will be seeded fourth in what is expected to be a tough State Tournament. Lenexa St. James, the defending State champion, is 40-1 and has won 84 of its last 86 matches. The Blue Comets will be in the same pool with St. James. Also, McPherson, a Class 5A State qualifier last season, is the No. 2 seed at 40-2 and Holton is the third seed at 39-4.