Lady ‘Cats bow out at De Soto
Alex Jeannin and her senior teammates took the floor together for the last time on Monday.
They faced a stern challenge in the first round of the playoffs against No. 1 seed De Soto. Just a few days earlier De Soto held Basehor to five first-half points and beat BLHS, 44-22.
But Basehor wasn't about to go that quietly on Monday. The Lady 'Cats matched De Soto point for point for most of the game behind solid performances from their four seniors, but Wildcat center Allie Heinen owned the paint in the second half. She scored a game-high 23 points to fuel a 55-41 victory that rescued the Wildcats and thwarted Basehor's inspired bid for an upset.
"I just hoped that if this was going to be our last game that we would leave it all on the floor and I feel like we did that," Basehor coach Mardy Robinson said.
BLHS had trouble keeping De Soto off the glass all game, and it really hurt them early, as they fell behind 19-9 in the second quarter. The powerful Wildcats, the Kaw Valley League champions, looked like they wanted to put Basehor away early, but the Lady 'Cats refused to let them. They reeled off a 12-1 run in which five different players scored.
When Jeannin drove the lane and dropped off a beautiful pass to senior Katie Burchfield, who laid it in, the Lady 'Cats had their first lead of the game at 21-20.
"I was really proud of everybody," Jeannin said after the game. "They're the number one seed and a good team, but we weren't scared, we competed."
Jeannin, Basehor's all-time assists leader, finished with 8 assists and 5 rebounds. She also chipped in 5 points and 2 steals. Burchfield didn't miss a shot from the floor or the free throw line and finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Basehor trailed 22-24 at halftime, but senior Kelly Schaffer got the team started off right in the second half. On the first possession she took a pass from Jeannin on the right wing and fired up a three-pointer that bounced off the rim three times before dropping in.
The basket put the Lady 'Cats up 25-24, but it would be their last lead. Heinen seemed determined not to let the game and the season slip away. She scored 10 points in the third and De Soto took a 39-29 lead that BLHS never overcame, despite some unexpected offensive heroics out of senior Nicole Kirk.
Kirk hit three long jumpshots in the fourth quarter. Her third one banked in as she was fouled, cutting the lead to 46-38 and giving the Lady 'Cats one last glimmer of hope.
"Nicole's quiet, the other team doesn't always know she's there. She's one of the best defensive players we've got, and tonight she got hot," Robinson said.
Kirk finished 5 of 6 from the field, all on long jumpers. She led the team in scoring for the first time this season, with 10 points.
"I guess I just figured that since it might be my last game I might as well try and do whatever I can," Kirk said. "I have no idea how some of them went in, some were pretty ugly."
But most swished, leaving even her teammates unable to explain the offensive explosion.
"I don't know, but I loved it," Jeannin said. "She was awesome."
Kirk helped keep the Lady 'Cats in the game until the final minutes, but in the end there was just too much to overcome. De Soto had a huge free throw advantage, a large, enthusiastic crowd and the 6-foot Heinen roaming the paint. A parade to the free throw line in the last couple minutes led to a final score that didn't reflect how close the game was.
Samantha Paterson had 6 points, 2 steals and a block off the bench. Morgan Kenney, had 4 points and 3 assists. But Jeannin, Schaffer, Kirk and Burchfield were clearly the leaders in their final game.
"I told them after the game that they had laid the foundation, that our future success will be built on what they've given to this team," Robinson said.