Holton girls take fourth at Basehor-Linwood basketball tourney
After defeating the host team at the Basehor-Linwood Tournament on Wednesday, the Holton Lady Cats basketball team dropped the next two games, including a loss to longtime rival Topeka Hayden, to take fourth place at the tournament.
Head coach Jon Holliday said that while the two losses were hard for his team to take, it should help them to take on Sabetha this Friday as a more seasoned team than they were earlier in the 2015-16 season.
Holton got off to a good start on Wednesday against Basehor-Linwood, playing “extremely well for about the first 12 minutes of that half,” Holliday said, getting the first quarter score to 15-7 before the Bobcats exploded for 20 points in the second quarter, cutting Holton’s lead to 28-27 at the half.
“In that last three or four minutes, we did some things we can’t do to give ourselves a chance to be successful,” Holliday said. “We put up some quick shots. We got beat on the boards. There’s a lot of factors.”
The Bobcats closed the third quarter with a one-point lead against Holton, but the Lady Cats struck back in the fourth, exploding for 21 points.
“The biggest thing was that we had to go back to what we were doing for the first part of the game,” Holliday said. “We made a couple of great defensive plays that got us off and going, then we coupled that with our halfcourt offense and got better. We made them pay at the free throw line as well.”
In this game, Holton’s Shay Tanking led the Lady Cats with 17 points, including one from behind the three-point arch, followed by Courtney Boswell, whose 15 points included a three-pointer.
Holton appeared to have some good momentum going into Friday’s match-up against the Benton High School Cardinals from St. Joseph, Mo. — a team that Holliday said Holton faced at the same tournament last year. The Cardinals, however, proved to be too much for the Lady Cats to handle, starting with a rough 22-5 first quarter that Holton never recovered from.
“Benton’s a great basketball team,” Holliday said. “They’re ranked as one of the top teams in Missouri, and they’ve got a point guard that’s as good as we’ve seen in a long time. They run some great sets, they’re very efficient offensively and they’ve got five people keyed in. We can’t give them enough compliment.”
Holton battled back in the second quarter to close the gap to 31-17, but a “nice run to start the third quarter” couldn’t save the Cats, Holliday said, and the final score of 54-32 found the Cards on top.
“We gave ourselves a chance at the start of the third quarter,” he said. “If we’d have played at that level of efficiency for the whole game, we would have had a better chance. But we got beat by a very good basketball team.”
The Lady Cats were led by Shari Riley in scoring, with six of her eight points coming from the freethrow line. Ashlyn Weilert and Hayley Thompson contributed six points each, and Boswell, Tanking and Sarah Lierz each added a three-pointer.
The loss put Holton into a battle with perennial rival Topeka Hayden for third-place honors, but Hayden proved to be just a little bit stronger than the Lady Cats, and Hayden went on to win the game 63-49. Holliday said that his team was “very productive” at times against Hayden and had “some great ball movement,” but in the end, it just wasn’t enough.
“It was a game where we fell in the first half, and we gave up a couple of buckets we shouldn’t have.”
After trailing 35-24 at the half, the Lady Cats came out and got the deficit down to four points, Holliday said. However, the team didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to “seize the day and get going,” and Hayden stretched the lead back to 14 points by game’s end.
In this game, Holton was led in scoring by Boswell with 12 points, Tanking with 11 and Weilert with 10.
The Lady Cats (7-5) are now getting ready to take on Sabetha during winter courtwarming games on Friday, with the day’s games starting at 4:30 p.m. Holton’s girls team have already suffered a road loss this season to the Blue Jays, but Holliday said he hopes that his team has matured enough to beat Sabetha this time around.
“We’ve just played three hard games against three good opponents, and hopefully we’ve found out what it’s going to take to be successful throughout the rest of the year,” he said. “The first time we played Sabetha, we weren’t ready, and it was up to the coaches to get them better prepared for that game, and we didn’t do it. But I’d like to think we’ve played some decent basketball since then.”