Every basketball coach would like to see his team peak at the end of the season, aka “tournament time”.
Boone Central showed its timing to be impeccable Thursday as the Lady Cardinals, arguably playing their finest all-around game of the season, thoroughly dismantled previously undefeated and Class C1 #1-rated Crofton 59-39 to claim the 2009 C1-9 Sub-District title at Norfolk High School.
With the victory, Boone Central (20-2) moved into position to claim the first girls district basketball championship since the Albion/Petersburg merger.
“It’s a great accomplishment to beat the #1 rated team in the state and qualify to play in the district final,” stated Cardinal Coach Mike Kennedy. “We have put ourselves in a very good position this week.
“We played very well in a sub-district that was loaded with good basketball teams. Now we will focus all of our efforts on winning our first district championship in Boone Central history.”
Boone Central faces Valentine (9-12) Friday in the C1-5 District title game. The contest will be held at North Central High School in Bassett, beginning at 7 p.m.
Going into Thursday’s sub-district final, everything pointed to a great basketball game.
Undefeated and #1 ranked Crofton (by the Omaha World-Herald). Boone Central, 19-2 and ranked 3rd. Teams second and third in NSAA power points. State tournament hopes on the line. A packed house at a neutral site.
It did, indeed, turn out to be a great game – for Boone Central.
The Lady Cards hit on all cylinders from the start and never missed a beat while handing Crofton its worst loss in six years, 59-39.
The Warriors, C1 state champions in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and third-place finishers in 2008, made brief runs at Boone Central in the second and third periods, but never had an answer for the Cardinals’ tenacious defense and frenetic offensive energy that dictated the pace of the game from the opening tip.
“It was an exciting evening of basketball,” Kennedy acknowledged. “All of the pieces were in place – a big, boisterous crowd, a great gym to play in and two very good teams with a district final berth hanging in the balance.
“We got off to a very quick start and forced Crofton into several first-quarter turnovers. That really set the tone for the game.”
Attack, attack, attack was the Boone Central game plan from the outset.
Using suffocating full-court pressure, the Cardinals forced six Crofton turnovers in the first three minutes of play and raced to a 10-2 lead behind four points apiece by Julia Temme and Brittany Luettel.
Emily Wells scored a pair of buckets in the paint and BC capped a 19-10 first quarter advantage with Temme’s three-pointer and a layup by Bobbi Beckwith.
Crofton pared the lead to 25-20 midway through the second period before Temme rained in her second trey. Erica Carder added a bucket for the Cards and Holly Hegge finished a traditional three-point play just prior to intermission for a 30-23 Boone Central advantage.
“Crofton, great team that they are, battled back and made it very competitive into the third quarter,” Kennedy noted. “We were able to convert some scoring opportunities in the third and really amped up our defensive pressure.
“By the start of the fourth quarter, we were in a very good position and managed the game well from there on out.”
With the score 32-25, Boone Central went on a 12-4 run sparked by Steph Paulson’s six points and culminated by Paige Kolm’s three-point dagger with just over a minute remaining in the third period.
The Cardinals continued their domination in the final stanza, pushing the margin to 20 points on Beckwith’s long-range field goal with four minutes to play.
Temme led balanced scoring with 14 points, all in the first half. Wells added 12 and Luettel 11. Luettel also had seven assists and three steals and Paulson topped rebounding with six.
Complete Details in Print Edition of the Albion News.