Archive for Wednesday, December 13, 2006

BLHS girls tripped up in 2 OTs

Lady Bobcats come up short in title game, fall to Parsons in double-overtime thriller

December 13, 2006

A perfect beginning to the 2006 season was not to be for the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team. In a ferociously intense championship game at the Iola Tournament, the Lady 'Cats were knocked off in double overtime by Parsons, 32-29.

After opening the seven-team tournament with wins against Pittsburgh and Girard, Friday was supposed to be a coming-out party for the program. Instead, they shot themselves in the foot with careless ball-handling and a nightmare night at the free throw line. Basehor-Linwood finished 8-for-22 from the stripe.

Parsons ratcheted up the defensive pressure from the outset. They remained in a full-court press for the duration of the game, befuddling the Basehor-Linwood offense. Parsons began the game on a 10-3 run, prompting BLHS coach Tami Holthus to burn a timeout to settle down her anxious team. The Lady 'Cats tightened on defense and didn't allow a point during the game's next five minutes. The Bobcats went into halftime trailing 16-11.

Parsons' gambling, aggressive defense caught up to them in the second half. After a barrage of fouls, Basehor-Linwood found itself in the bonus with 21 seconds left in the third quarter. This led to a bizarre sequence where the Lady 'Cats shot six free throws in seven seconds, courtesy of a couple quick turnovers and three personal fouls. Basehor-Linwood converted five to seize their first lead of the evening, 19-18.

The teams traded control throughout the fourth quarter. With the score knotted at 26-26, forward Bren Koontz missed a short turn-around to send the game into overtime.

The Lady 'Cats slowed their tempo in the first overtime. After a Cassie Lombardino lay up, the team led 29-26. On their last legs, Parsons called upon junior guard Christiana Taylor, who nailed a straightaway three with less than 10 seconds left to force double overtime.

In the second extra frame, Basehor-Linwood won the tip. Holthus decided to put the brakes on a struggling offense, as point guard Brooke Sanders spent the better part of the next three minutes holding onto the ball. The clock wound down to 1:10 left before Koontz was fouled. She missed both free throws, and Parsons quickly hit a three-pointer on the other end. After the Parsons three-point bomb, the Lady 'Cats had 15 seconds with which to work, but were unable to get a shot off as time expired.

Visibly deflated, Holthus offered a few obvious, but pointed, remarks after the game.

"We know to get better that we have to shoot better from the free throw line," she said.

Outside of the seven seconds of prosperity in the third quarter, the Lady 'Cats shot just 3-for-16 from the line.

Basehor-Linwood was also done in by a tentative offense that finished many possessions similar to the last one of the game: without attempting a shot.

"We just did not attack for whatever reason," Holthus said.

The Lady 'Cats' post play, a shining light in the tournament's previous victories, was almost non-existent.

"We played tentative," Holthus added. "Parsons played the passing lanes well, and we didn't feed (Lombardino) the ball."

Lombardino, who torched Girard for 20 points on Tuesday, was shut down in the title game, finishing with just four points. Despite the offensive struggles, she was able to contribute on the glass, finishing with a team-high nine rebounds.

Koontz finished as BLHS's leading scorer, with nine points.

The story, however, was free throws.

"We shot 52 percent from the free throw line last year," Holthus said. "Our goal is to hit over 70 percent. We had opportunities to finish the game and win. We didn't get it done."

Despite the agonizing loss, Holthus knew there were lessons to be gleaned from defeat.

"We're going to be in this position again," she said. "Teams in our league will pressure us. This was a good experience. We will get better."

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