Lady Bobcats fall to Bonner Springs
The Bonner Springs High School girls basketball players will have to be forgiven if they seemed to celebrate last Friday's victory just a bit too exuberantly for a mid-season game.
After all, they'd just gone on the road and staged a second-half comeback to beat their talented rivals from Basehor-Linwood. It was cause for celebration. But, for the Lady Bobcats, being on the wrong end of the 45-36 score was clearly tough to take.
Many of the players covered their faces with their hands as they walked off the court, but coach Tami Holthus said they had nothing to feel bad about.
"I love our team," Holthus said. "We are fighting hard, we are making progress and we just have to stay after it. We've got kids who are fighting their tails off every game and every day in practice."
After the first half of Friday's game it seemed likely that effort would be rewarded with a victory. The Lady 'Cats led 18-13 at the break behind balanced scoring and stifling defense.
The shutdown "D" was often led by junior guard Shae Sawalich, who has grabbed a starting spot the last few games mainly through sheer hustle.
"Shae's earned her minutes by the way she fights; she fights hard," Holthus said.
Still, no amount of fight from Sawalich and the Bobcats could stop Bonner Springs in the second half Friday. The Bravettes outscored BLHS 16-4 in the third quarter, mainly by catching fire from the outside. They hit three three-pointers, with two coming from Kelsey Stanbrough, her team's leading scorer with 14 points. Christina Delladio added an old-fashioned three-point play when she got fouled on a baseline jumper and made the shot and the free throw.
"They got open for a few threes and a couple of kids stepped up and made big shots," Holthus said. "They're very capable of doing that; they have some dangerous offensive players."
Meanwhile, Basehor-Linwood's offense went cold in the third. Cassie Lombardino scored four points early in the quarter before Bonner Springs went on an 11-0 run. Holthus said her team was prepared for the Bravettes' smothering 3-2 zone defense and got plenty of shots. The problem, she said, was that her squad made just 12 of 60 field goals.
The most consistent scorers on the night for BLHS were Lombardino and Brooke Sanders. Lombardino finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Sanders had 15 points and 4 steals. The sophomore guard also hit four threes, two of which came in the fourth quarter as the Lady 'Cats made one last charge.
Sanders' last three cut the lead to 38-32 with four minutes left. But the Bravettes then went into a stall offense to run out the clock and BLHS couldn't create any turnovers. The Lady 'Cats were forced to foul and their opponents were cool at the free throw line, icing the game down the stretch.
The loss left BLHS at 2-4 on the season, with an extremely tough trip to Tonganoxie coming up next. The Lady Chieftains sport a very athletic lineup and are one of the favorites to win the Kaw Valley League.
"We can't back down and we've got to try and contain certain individuals on their team," Holthus said. "We've got to keep doing what we do and gain more confidence in what we do."
The Lady Bobcats' game versus Tonganoxie is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tipoff, this Friday at Tonganoxie.