The St. John-Hudson girls basketball team was ranked third in 1A-D1. The Norwich girls were ranked second in 1A-D2. It had the makings of one of the best match ups in Western Kansas, but it did not turn out that way. The Lady Eagles only chance came in the second quarter but even then they never earned a lead. The Lady Tigers dominated the second half to win 46-17.
St. John-Hudson took off to an 11-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Eagles surged within one point of the Lady Tigers with four minutes left in the half. A few big shots before halftime and St. John retained its lead 21-12. Lady Tiger head coach Danny Smith said he didn’t have to say anything in the locker room to get his girls fired up.
“I don’t have to say much to these girls,” he said. “They are mad. They are mad by the way they played and they’re mad about fouling a bunch. They certainly came out and played hard. When we came out and we had a couple girls hit a couple quick shots and then…our girls played defense real hard and they just stayed on them and I think that wears you down. I think that wore the other team down a little bit and that is what we had planned to do going into the game.”
Two three-pointers in a row to start the half was a Lady Tiger momentum boost. They continued to score 16 unanswered points shutting out the Lady Eagles until the final minute of the third quarter.
Their leading scorer, Tiger senior Morgan Osborne, said when the defense is solid, their offense flows flawlessly.
“Scoring doesn’t really matter to me,” she said. “It’s the end that matters. Defense is our name of the game and if we don’t play good defense it is hard for us to score. When we play good defense that is when everybody really comes around and scores and gives each other the opportunities for really good shots.”
St. John held the Lady Eagles to only three points in the fourth quarter and continued to dominate. The final score was 46-17. Despite a win over a ranked opponent the Lady Tigers are still thirsty. Osborne said their last loss to Wichita South fueled them and will continue to do so the rest of the season.
“Obviously, after this we get back in the gym and start working even harder,” she said. “You know, we just came off of a loss and now we are encouraged coming back from a win. That loss is still in the back of our heads and we’re going to come out and we’re going to play and practice on even better defense and even better offense. We will really focus on taking the little things into mind and perfecting those.”
“We don’t care about the rankings so much but it is nice to get a win after that last loss,” Smith said. “We lost our first game to a good Wichita South team and that was tough for us to swallow whether it was a two-point game or in overtime or whatever. Just coming out here and playing better and getting a win was what we wanted to do. We didn’t play our greatest but we played hard.”