Lady ‘Cats fall in first round
Loss twice as costly, as junior sharpshooter injures knee
Everything started out so promisingly for the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team in the first round of the Bobcat Invitational.
As the first quarter buzzer sounded, the Lady Bobcats were in control of every facet of their game against St. Teresa's Academy and led 9-4.
Then everything went downhill.
The Lady Bobcats were outscored 20-8 in the second quarter, en route to a 54-36 defeat.
"They really adjusted nice to our matchups," BLHS coach Tami Holthus said. "We didn't quite get to their shooters. We just didn't quite get the shooters covered up."
The Bobcats appeared destined to blow the game open early, as they breezed to a 7-2 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter. BLHS was causing turnovers and getting the ball into the post with ease.
St. Teresa's looked completely discombobulated by the Lady Bobcats' attack, racking up eight personal fouls in the games first seven-plus minutes.
Midway through the second quarter, Stars coach Rich Wilson had seen enough and called a timeout. His team promptly settled down and started swinging the ball around the perimeter on offense; finding open shooters. The Stars hit six three pointers in the game's final three quarters.
"We knew that they were very quick, that they had a nice inside game," Holthus said. "We knew they had good shooters, that their guards were very quick and lived to penetrate. We knew we would have our hands full tonight."
And they did. When the outside shots started to fall for the Stars, it was as though an avalanche was falling on the Lady Bobcats. They were outscored 50-27 in the last three quarters.
To its credit, BLHS stood strong during the offensive onslaught. After falling behind 24-17 at halftime, the Lady 'Cats were able to keep it close for most of the second half. An Ashley Jeannin jump shot and breakaway layup off a turnover on consecutive possessions cut a once imposing lead to 35-29 with 6:31 left in the fourth.
"I thought we performed very hard," Holthus said. "We still just had a few bad possessions where we turned it over. But I thought our intensity was very good."
St. Teresa's guard Paige Kuhlmann hit a dagger three-pointer with four minutes and change left in the game to push the lead back to nine. Kuhlmann finished with 14 points.
BLHS junior Megan O'Bryan recognized the Bobcats' difficulty in stopping the bevy of perimeter shots. Once St. Teresa's began quickly distributing the ball around the outside, BLHS had problems rotating fast enough to keep up.
"On defense, our guards had to overload one side, and we couldn't recover fast enough to get over," O'Bryan said.
The Lady Bobcats were able to control the post throughout the contest. Center Cassie Lombardino had a big game, posting a double-double. The junior had 16 points, 10 rebounds, two blocked shots, and two assists.
Holthus is looking for additional scoring from other sources on the inside.
"We had additional chances on the inside, but we just have to learn how to finish," she said. "We have kids coming off the bench that are giving us great minutes defensively, we just have to get them to have a little more confidence on the offensive end and play a little smarter.
"We need them to pump fake and take it up strong. We'll work on it. We are getting there."
A somber note was added to defeat late in the third quarter. Forward Michelle Chrisman came down hard on her knee during a scrum for a loose ball. She lay on the court for several minutes and had to be helped off. She did not return. The junior had accumulated six points until her departure.
Her status was not immediately known.
"We don't know yet," Holthus said. "She is going to try and get into an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and see what they have to say."
The Bobcats may be without her services when they continue tournament play on Wednesday. Their second round match up will begin at 6 p.m.
"We just have to pick ourselves up off the mat," Holthus said. "We need to understand that it is a process. We are going to stay after it."
The players concur.
"We were disappointed," O'Bryan said. "We have to move on. Our next game is our next focus. Tonight is over, so we will move on."
Results of Wednesday's contest were not available at press time.