Tuesday, Mar. 05 2013 1:04PM
Down to the wire
By Ryan Weaver
Special to the Journal
The Class 5, District 13 championship game came down to the last few possessions between Lee’s Summit West and St. Teresa’s Academy.
With the game tied 57-57, Titan Taylor Jackson got the ball stolen from her. On an out-of-bounds play, the Titans pressured high, which allowed STA’s Rachel Elena Allard to make an uncontested layup from a pass over the top with about four seconds left to give the Stars a 59-57 victory.
“You know, five seconds left I believe, and I contemplated calling that timeout,” Titan head coach Kristy Guffey said. “You don’t ever want to give your opposing coach a chance to set something up. We were overanxious and we didn’t box out. And again, kudos to them being hardnosed and really being aggressive. It was smart on their part, but we overplayed it.”
The Titans controlled the second quarter and the first part of the third quarter, getting out to a 32-22 advantage just after halftime.
The Stars went on a 12-2 run to close out the third quarter and took a 40-38 lead after Rebecca Lueke stole an inbound pass and went the distance for a traditional three-point play with 8.6 seconds left. The lead swelled to 47-38 before the Titans finally responded.
“I think we have momentum swings with was us getting high with the highs and low with the lows, us being emotional,” Guffey said, “and I think that has a lot to do with our age with so many freshman out on the floor and they don’t understand how to stay poised, stay calm.”
After Allison Finneseth hit a free throw, Ogechi Ofodu converted a steal to a layup with 5:05 remaining to pull within 47-41.
LSW made another run with 2:16 left. Elle Sandbothe narrowed the gap to 54-49 with a layup and Jackson made good on two free throws, something the Titans struggled with all game. Finneseth hit back-to-back runners to give the Titans a 55-54 lead with 1:11 left. Finneseth finished with 10 points.
A Rachel Allard free throw tied the game up for the Stars, but Jackson responded with a jumper, her 25th point of the game for West, with 31 seconds on the clock. Eleanor Lueke answered back with two free throws to tie the game at 57-57 with 23 seconds left.
Jackson initially broke the Star’s press, which forced numerous Titan turnovers throughout the game, but then got stripped in the corner, leaving the Titans without a shot to pull ahead.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our kids, the growth that they’ve had,” Guffey said. “Over the course of the year, what we’ve really wanted to do with them, I think we’ve accomplished. They understood what it meant to fight, finally.”
Foul trouble and free throws really hurt the Titans, going just 11-for-29 on the night, including the front end of all three one-and-ones in the second half. By halftime, five players had two fouls; Jasmine Edwards and Amaka Ofodu, the only seniors on the squad, both fouled out.
The team, comprised of all freshmen and sophomores besides Edwards and Ofodu, can use the experience to build on for the next few years.
“I think it’s an incredible experience for them. I’m extremely proud of them,” Guffey said. “I’m really excited about the future of the program. I think they can do some big things.”
Lee’s Summit West ended the season with a 7-18 record.