Total team effort lifts Lady ‘Cats into 2nd round
Victory sets up rematch with top-ranked Tonganoxie
The Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team worked all season to secure home-court advantage in the first-round at sub-state.
But all that work appeared for naught, when Piper came to town on Tuesday night and opened the game with an 11-5 lead, hitting their first four field goals.
Lady Bobcats coach Tami Holthus called timeout.
"I just wanted to settle us down," Holthus said. "We understand that this is a whole new season that started for us tonight. I wanted to let everyone know that we are OK, we just need to play through it."
BLHS did just that. The Lady 'Cats immediately turned it around and defeated the Lady Pirates 43-34.
BLHS ended the first half on a 16-5 run after the timeout, surrendering only three points in the second quarter. The Lady 'Cats took a 21-16 lead to halftime.
"When the game started we were kind of nervous, being the first game of sub-state," forward Bren Koontz said. "We beat Piper last game, so we came out slow, thinking we had it. When they ran on us, we kind of knew we had to pick it up. Coach got us going, we started looking for each other, and started hitting shots."
Piper began the second half much like it started the game, hitting their first five shots from the field. The Lady Pirates were forced into six turnovers in the third quarter, however, and couldn't gain momentum. The score was 30-27 heading into the final quarter.
Piper would get no closer.
"I didn't think we were going to lose, but I was kind of getting nervous thinking we had to pick it up," Koontz said. "But I never thought we were going to lose."
Koontz scored 12 points and dished five assists.
"She did an outstanding job of running the floor for us and looking for opportunities," Holthus said. "I thought her teammates did a great job of finding her as well.
"Her game has always been as a slasher; she is an outstanding slasher. Tonight, she made such great decisions. Not only offensively was she going to the rim very hard, she was making good decisions with the ball in all situations."
Koontz was able to break out of an individual slump at a time when the Lady Bobcats needed her scoring.
"The past three games, I have had tough offensive games," Koontz said. "Coach has really been working with us on, no matter who you are, where you are at, be a threat (offensively). I really took that into consideration."
BLHS junior Cassie Lombardino finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds, along with 2 blocked shots. Courtney Hooks added 8 points and 2 rebounds off the bench. Hooks went 4-for-4 from the field. Ashley Jeannin scored 6 points and dished 2 assists. Brooke Sanders had 2 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists.
And that was only the stat sheet.
"I felt like we got outstanding contributions from everyone that we put on the floor," Holthus said. "Kara Douglas set the tone early with three offensive rebounds, keeping possessions alive. Megan O'Bryan came in and played great defense. Ashley Jeannin played great defense on (Allie) Nichols all night. I thought we had outstanding focus on offense. We knew they would probably zone us again, so we wanted to score in transition."
The Lady 'Cats ran their offensive sets with efficiency, often getting clean looks at lay-ups set up by crisp passes.
"Most of our field goals came off assists. To me, that says it all," Holthus said.
The win propels the Lady Bobcats (12-9) into a second round rematch with Tonganoxie (20-1), the No. 1 ranked 4A girl's team in the state.
For more on the team's upcoming game against Tonganoxie, see Page 6B.