Lady Eagles Girls Second At Brashear Title
By David Sharp
Knox County challenged one of the top high school girls’ basketball teams in Northern Missouri in the championship game of the 82nd Annual Brashear Tournament.
The Lady Eagles (12-5) hung with fourth ranked and top seeded Marion County for three quarters.
In the end, two time first team all stater Jessica Redd was too much to handle, despite sophomore Devin Gudehus probably playing her best game in a Knox County uniform trying to guard the Division I college prospect.
Marion County (18-0) stretched a seven point third quarter lead in the final minutes for a 58-37 victory. Jessica Redd scored a game high 23 points. Freshman Devan Johnson was in double figures for Marion County with 15 points.
All stater Randi Lee Plunkett fired in nine Mustang points. The closest Knox County could pull after the first quarter was within four points at the 3:10 mark of the third quarter.
Marion County finished third in Class 1 in 2010 and second overall in 2009. The powerful Lady Mustangs have been invited to nearly every major shootout in Northern Missouri and West Central Illinois.
Knox County pushed Marion County as hard as any team West of the Mississippi river has this season. Knox County was actually taller everywhere but the post.
The game started out pretty much evenly on the floor. Jessica Redd fired in a three pointer from the top of the key, pushing a two point game to an 11-6 Marion County lead with 3:30 showing on the first quarter clock. Redd blocked a three point shot attempt and turned it into a lay up on the other end.
Hannah Strange got position on the imposing Lady Mustang front line and put back an offensive board for a 13-8 MC lead with 2:10 showing on the first quarter clock.
Devan Johnson’s three point play with seven seconds to play in the opening quarter gave Marion County a 19-10 first quarter lead. Marion County began to push the Lady Eagle post players out of the lane.
Knox County interior players were getting the basketball 16 feet from the bucket rather than in the blocks. Turnovers were the result. Kaelyn Spratt put Marion County up 23-16 at the 2:27 mark of the second quarter.
The Lady Mustangs led 24-18 at the half. Knox County defended the lightning quick Mustangs well, especially in the third quarter. Kathleen Hinkle’s three point play pulled Knox County within a 26-21 deficit with 6:12 remaining in the period.
Jessica Redd hammered home a rebound for a 32-23 Lady Mustang lead with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter. Knox County scored the next five points.
The large crowd of Knox County supporters roared when Kelsey Cahalan drained a three ball with 3:10 showing on the third quarter clock. Marion County led 32-28.
The Lady Mustangs grabbed the basketball and beat Knox County back down the court. Rachelle Sharpe answered the KCHS challenge with a three point play. Kaelyn Spratt kept the play going with an offensive board.
One of Knox County’s largest hopes were to get Marion County in foul trouble. Scotland County was able to stay within ten points in the championship game of the North Shelby Tournament after Jessica Redd and Randi Lee Plunkett sat out minutes with foul problems.
Kathleen Hinkle drew Jessica Redd’s third foul with 1:50 showing on the third quarter clock. Hinkle pulled Knox County within a 37-30 deficit. Redd answered with a bucket on the other end.
Marion County’s pillar was not charged with another foul. Marion County took a 39-32 lead to the fourth quarter. Stacey Leckbee drew another ovation with a three ball at the 6:51 mark. Marion County held a six point lead.
The Lady Eagles were within a 45-37 deficit with three minutes to play in the game. Marion County’s speed and quickness helped the Lady Mustangs score the final 13 points of the contest.
Knox County sank seven of ten free throws on the night. Marion County was 9 of 19 from the charity stripe. The Lady Mustangs outscored Knox County 46-24 from the field.
“I thought we got the tempo up where we wanted it in the second quarter and then we stopped running,” Marion County coach Mike Johnson said. “I don’t know if that was Knox (County) or other factors. I thought we got a little tired.”
“Typical Knox team, they are going to make you earn every basket,” Mike Johnson said. “I thought we did a good job of executing our half court offense and getting shots.”
“Eventually we got the tempo back where we wanted it. I am very proud of the girls for staying with what we wanted to do and taking what Knox was giving us.”
Kathleen Hinkle led the Lady Eagles with 15 points. Hannah Dale fired six points. Stacey Leckbee scored five points. Hannah Strange and Devin Gudehus scored four points each.
Kelsey Cahalan added one Lady Eagle point. “We had a chance. Stacey (Leckbee) was at the line at the end of the third quarter with a chance to cut it to five points,” Knox County coach John Weaver said.
“It was a seven point game. The kids were hanging tough, playing hard. I thought we did a job on some of their huge point weapons. We held them to 45 points with three minutes to go.”
“We gave up 58. They stuck some in late. I’m not hanging my hat on any moral victory, but I couldn’t be more proud of my kids,” John Weaver said. “They played hard. They fought and fought and fought. We just fell short at the end.”
“We challenged her,” Coach Weaver said when asked about Devin Gudehus’ effort. “She was playing a Division I all stater. We wanted to use our 5’10” kids to get a body on (Jessica Redd). She is going to play against great talent the rest of her life. We took up the challenge.”
“Jessica Redd still scored double figures and probably got double digit rebounds. We made her work for everything she got,” John Weaver said. “Much of it was because of Devin (Gudehus)”.
“We tried to push Jessica Redd out of the lane, and they did it to us. They were physical on the low post,” said Coach Weaver. “When Kathleen (Hinkle) catches the ball on the blocks it is usually a deuce or free throws. Our post players got the ball 16 feet out and didn’t know what to do with it. It got us out of our offense.”
“They made us play on one side of the court on the perimeter. That hurt us. It comes down to not taking care of the ball. We turned the ball over too many times early.”
“It is what it is,” John Weaver said. “They are a good team. We got second and we are moving on.”