Derby falls in semi-final heartbreaker

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- Tears fell from the Derby Panthers as they trotted down the halls of Charles Koch Arena. They lost their first game in 47-attempts, a 45-40 loss to Washburn Rural in the 6A state semifinals.

Mar 8, 2019; Wichita, Kansas, USA; during the 6A semifinals at Charles Koch Arena ©KellyRoss

"A lot of hurt, a lot of pain, it's stinging," Head Coach Jodie Karsak said of her girls in the locker room. "I think they know that they could have won that game if we could've just been us."

She defined "us" as doing all of the little things right and playing "uncommonly." Karsak said they didn't execute their game-plan correctly.

"It was a game that we knew we had to execute well," she said. "We talked about making sure we get boards and making sure we don't let them drive and making sure we don't let them get to the free-throw line."

The free-throw differential was astounding. Washburn Rural shot 26 free throws, while the Panthers only shot six. One of those calls, a phantom foul on Jaidyn Schomp sent her to the bench with her fifth and final, and visually frustrated Karsak.

"I am fine as a coach, as long as it is even," she said. "When you've got six free throws to 26, that's of course very frustrating."

Seniors Kennedy Brown, Tor'e Alford, Aliyah Myers, Erin Kooser, and Allison Kooser walked off the court for the final time. They left a mark on the program as the first and still the only team to bring a girls basketball state championship to Derby. Karsak said this loss hurts even more for those five ladies.

"It's because they care so much," Karsak said. "Whenever you invest so much and you care, the pain is worse. They have given so much to this program. I just told them 'I am so glad that I'm sitting in this room with this group of girls than in the other one going to the state championship,' because I absolutely love them, I care about them, and they put Derby Girls Basketball on the map."


Mar 8, 2019; Wichita, Kansas, USA; during the 6A semifinals at Charles Koch Arena ©KellyRoss