Highs. Lows. Disappointment. Satisfaction. All parts of Boone Central’s experience in the 2011 Mid-State Conference girls basketball tournament.
Boone Central entered the annual conference event hoping to get a championship game shot at Hartington Cedar Catholic, which had defeated the Lady Cards in the season opener.
However, a semi-final loss to Class D1 #2 West Point Central Catholic, a team Boone Central defeated in mid-January, derailed that goal and left BC in consolation play on the weekend.
The Lady Cardinals did not dwell long on Thursday’s disappointment, bouncing back to dismantle Norfolk Catholic for third place Saturday and leaving Coach Mike Kennedy upbeat and optimistic.
“We are still improving as a team and will be tough to beat once post-season play arrives,” he stated.
Boone Central opened tournament play Wednesday as if on a mission, racing to an early 18-8 lead and running away to a 66-33 victory over Battle Creek.
“Despite the postponements, cold weather and small crowd, our team really played with a lot of energy,” Kennedy praised. “Our defense was very good and we just never let them establish anything.”
In a battle of #2 and #3 seeded teams, Thursday’s semi-final clash between Boone Central and West Point Central Catholic began as a classic donnybrook.
However, after trailing by just two points at intermission, the Cardinals could muster only 11 second-half points and dropped a 56-40 decision.
“They defended our interior game as well as anyone this season and held us to only five 2-point field goals,” Kennedy pointed out. “We shot well from the perimeter, but it wasn’t enough to counter their inside game.”
Boone Central also could not find an answer for Bluejay center Beth Stratman. After missing much of the earlier game between the teams with foul trouble, Stratman poured in 25 points Thursday.
Mid-State rival Norfolk Catholic took the brunt of Boone Central’s frustrations Saturday.
The Cardinals had worked hard for a nine-point homecourt win over Catholic the previous week, but in the tournament consolation final the Lady Knights could simply not keep pace with an aggressive Boone Central squad hitting on all cylinders.
“Easily one of our best performances this season,” Kennedy acknowledged. “We were very focused defensively and did a superb job getting the ball inside early.
“We gave 32 minutes of all-out effort. I am very proud of this team and the third-place finish in the conference tournament.”
With Lehmann (8 points) and Kennedy (5) providing scoring inside and out, Boone Central took a 16-10 lead after one period. The Cardinals methodically extended their advantage to 36-27 through three quarters, then polished off the flagging Knights with a 23-12 finishing flourish as Beckwith buried a pair of treys and Kennedy added another.