Holton holds off BLHS girls in 4A sub-state title game
Perry Plans of a return trip to the Class 4A state tournament were scratched by the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team on Saturday.
Holton simply had too many weapons for the Bobcats in the second half.
Aleesa Suarez hit a pair of 3-pointers to start the third quarter and give the Wildcats a 24-16 lead.
Following a timeout, the teams traded baskets, scoring four points each entering another timeout.
Following that timeout, Holton outscored Basehor-Linwood 7-2 to take a 35-22 lead at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats outscored the Bobcats 17-6 in the quarter, and began to look toward a sub-state title.
They continued to rattle in baskets and also stepped up their pressure on defense, which at times was difficult for the Bobcats to effectively run an offense against. Possessions ended with turnovers and the team failed to find a consistent rhythm on offense.
To begin the fourth quarter, Bren Koontz attempted a shot, but drew a foul. She made a pair of free throws and finished the game with 17 points, or half of Basehor’s points.
Koontz was the Bobcats’ consistent offensive player throughout the game.
“I thought Bren had an amazing month,” coach Noah Simpson said. “She scored 24 points on Tuesday and 27 points on Friday and 17 tonight. I am proud of her and the four years that Bren, Kara Douglas and Amber Jeannin have given us.”
The players have played on teams that went 39-8 the last two seasons. It all ended on Saturday.
After Koontz’ early baskets, Holton embarked on a 9-3 run to stretch its lead to 44-27. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way. Koontz subbed out with 34.6 seconds left and the game ended with a Courtney Poe field goal.
With the win, Holton advanced to the Class 4A state tournament equipped with a 23-0 record.
BLHS and Holton had met in the Basehor-Linwood Invitational basketball tournament with Holton winning in overtime.
In Saturday’s rematch, the two teams resembled boxers getting warmed up in the first quarter. BLHS cautiously worked into the offense and neither scored in the first three minutes.
The score was 10-6 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, Holton started on a 5-1 run and led 15-7. Koontz brought the Bobcats back, scoring seven points. She finished the half with 11 points.
Basehor-Linwood played equally tough on defense, forcing turnovers and limiting second half opportunities for the Wildcats. Megan Bergstrom was a difference maker for the team, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds to limit Holton’s offensive touches.
The Bobcats closed out the half on an 8-3 run. Holton led 18-16 entering the second quarter.
Holton simply had too many weapons in the game as nine players scored. Maggie Schuetz led the Wildcats with 10 points, and was the only player to point in double figures.
Suarez finished with 9 points and Carlen McManigal scored 8 points.
Following the contest, Simpson had nothing but positive things to say about Holton.
“Holton is a good team and well coached; they are 23-0 for a reason,” he said. “Players keep coming in at you. They are a well coached program. I wish them the best of luck at state. I hope they win the state tournament.”
He also said he is extremely proud of his players and the way they played this season.
Tears flowed openly in the team’s locker room after the game. It wasn’t as much that the team was upset about not going to state, as it was that there wouldn’t be any more practices together.
“In the end I would not take a trip to the state tournament over the relationships that we have built,” he said. “I would take those relationships over going to state any day. I love these girls. It is tough knowing that we won’t be able to come in on Monday and practice. We have so much fun.”
Basehor-Linwood ends the year with a 16-6 record.