Strong first half allows Bravettes to outlast Lady Bobcats
The girls game turned out to be a closer contest but only in the second half.
The Bonner Springs girls controlled the first half on the offensive and defensive ends, dictating the tempo of the game on offense and holding the Lady Bobcats to just six points of offense.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Bonner Springs," Basehor-Linwood coach Tami Holthus said. "They came out and they were the aggressors."
Behind seven points from junior Kelsey Stanbrough, the Bravettes built a 12-6 lead with 2:00 to play in the first half. A jumper from Felisha Leipard pushed the Bravettes' lead to 14-6 with 1:07 to play and a stop on the defensive end put the ball in Stanbrough's hands with time running out on the first half.
As the clock ticked down and Stanbrough began to create at the top of the key, the large and loud Basehor-Linwood crowd began a fake countdown. With eight seconds to play in the half, the BLHS students started at four and counted down to zero. The ploy tricked Stanbrough into firing up a premature shot, but as she twisted back to her right and heaved a 24-footer to the basket, it dropped through the hoop.
"I heard them and I swear I thought the time was running out," Stanbrough said. "So I just shot it and I got lucky."
After the shot went in, Stanbrough turned to the Basehor crowd, shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
"If they're going to yell then I'm going to say something back," Stanbrough said with a laugh.
The unlikely bucket gave the Bravettes all the momentum heading into the second half, but the Bobcats regrouped at the break and came out determined to get back into the game.
BLHS got its scoring going in the third quarter, but still trailed by 12 heading into the fourth.
At that point, Ashley Jeannin decided to step up. Jeannin's jump shot with 5:12 to play in the fourth quarter represented the first points from a BLHS player not named Cassie Lombardino or Brooke Sanders. It also represented the beginning of Jeannin's memorable quarter.
The 5-foot-5-inch junior was everywhere in the fourth quarter, knocking down jump shots, skying for rebounds in the paint and battling with intensity on defense.
"She's been doing that for us all season," Holthus said. "The things she does don't always get noticed, but offensively she was the leader for us in the second half."
Jeannin's resurgence in the second half, which inspired the Bobcats to crawl within two points of the lead in the final 30 seconds -- were a result of Holthus' challenge at the break.
"Going into the second half, coach told us that somebody needed to step up and be a leader and I thought I could be that person," Jeannin said.
Jeannin finished the night with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. And her intensity, along with a monster night from Lombardino -- 17 points and 5 rebounds -- took the Bravettes to the wire.
But in the end, after watching her teammates shoot 1-for-5 at the free throw line in the final 1:23, BSHS junior Chelsea Crouch stepped to the line and put the game away.
Crouch was 3-for-4 from the charity stripe in the final 23 seconds and that helped preserve the Bravettes' 34-31 victory.
Despite the loss, the Lady Bobcats were encouraged by their comeback and are looking forward to the rematch.
"This is going to stay in our minds," Jeannin said with a smile. "We'll be ready for the next one."