In some past seasons, a fourth-place finish in the dog-eat-dog Mid-State Conference Girls Basketball Tournament would have been considered an accomplishment.
For the 2010 Boone Central Lady Cardinals, defending Mid-State champions owning the #1 seed and ranked 4th in Class C1 on the strength of a 14-1 season mark entering the annual event, last week’s 1-2 tourney record and resulting finish was certainly a disappointment.
With the top four seeds ranked in C1 and C2 Top 10s, most conference observers figured the 2010 tournament would be a wide-open donnybrook. That it was.
Boone Central anticipated a rousing semi-final rematch with rival Norfolk Catholic and hoped for another shot at West Point Central Catholic, the only team to have previously beaten the Cardinals in 2009-10.
BC did, indeed, get the second-round battle vs. the Lady Knights, but a heartbreaking loss sent the Cardinals to the third-place game where they also stumbled against a scrappy Hartington Cedar Catholic squad.
Now Boone Central must regroup for the looming sub-district tournament.
“It was a tough week at the conference tournament,” Boone Central Coach Mike Kennedy acknowledged. “We played outstanding competition and that will make us better for post-season play.”
Boone Central had a relative breather to open conference tournament play, soundly defeating Madison 54-23 Monday, Feb. 1.
In a dominant, consistent effort, the Cards held Madison to eight or fewer points in each period while posting quarter totals of 15, 15, 12 and 12.
“We had an outstanding defensive effort,” Kennedy praised. “We also had five different players make a three-point field goal. It was a great team win.”
One week after nipping Norfolk Catholic in a defensive tussle, Boone Central faced the Knights again in the Mid-State semi-finals.
The Cardinals, unable to shift out of low gear in the opening quarter, fell into a daunting 19-8 hole Thursday. After finally mashing the accelerator to the floor, Boone Central roared back to take the lead at several points in the fourth quarter before Norfolk Catholic used crucial plays in the furious final minutes to score a 56-53 victory.
“Our defensive rebounding led to a big deficit early,” Kennedy commented. “We used a lot of energy getting back into the game, but we were unable to get defensive stops once we took the lead in the fourth quarter.
“One play here or there was the difference.”
Cardinal effort was there Saturday in the tournament consolation final against Hartington Cedar Catholic, but accuracy was missing in a 47-39 Boone Central loss.
The Cards made just 11-of-46 field goal attempts (0-of-8 from three-point range) and 17-of-27 free throws in the contest.
“We played very hard against a good Cedar Catholic team. We defended with energy and intensity,” Kennedy said. “We rebounded much better than against Norfolk Catholic, but we just did not shoot the ball well enough to put ourselves in position to win.”
Complete Details in Print & Online Editions of Albion News.