The Boone Central Lady Cardinals have to feel like that’s all that stood between them and their shot at a C1 state championship.
One half. Twelve points. Countless high-quality shot attempts that bounced, lipped and rolled off the Devaney Center rim.
Boone Central, with its decided size advantage, had the correct game plan in Friday’s state tournament semi-final against Minden. The Cardinals executed it well from the outset, getting numerous shots in the lane and right at the basket. For sixteen minutes, those shots just wouldn’t fall.
Meanwhile, Minden sophomore Brooke Kissinger’s three-point bombs – several unfathomable heaves from NBA distance – kept finding the bottom of the net.
It added up to a 10-point halftime deficit Boone Central was forced to dig out of. Not insurmountable, but even with a game Card effort in the second half, several more Kissinger threes and some clutch Whippet free throws ended Boone Central’s title dreams.
Card Coach Mike Kennedy summed it up bluntly.
“This was a game we should have won,” he stated. “I do not feel like Minden is a better basketball team than us. It is a bitterly disappointing result.”
Kennedy, to be fair, noted that Minden converted their opportunities, while the Cardinals did not take advantage of theirs.
One team with the high-percentage attempts – one that seemed to live on a wing and a prayer.
Sometimes prayers are answered.
That’s basketball. And life. It’s not always fair.
But let’s not dwell on what might have been. What was was pretty spectacular.
Give credit to the Lady Cardinals for fighting back in the second half Friday and for digging deep Saturday to finish a remarkable season with a victory in the state tourney consolation game that many teams have trouble getting excited about.
A 25-3 record. Third-place trophy. Officially the finest girls basketball season in school history.
“It’s been a magical season,” Kennedy said. “The kids that came before, that started this program on the way to what it is, they set this up for us. I want them to know how proud we are of them.
“But this has been an amazing, amazing group of basketball players, coaches and managers.”
Congratulations Lady Cardinals!