Turnovers plague Lady Cougars at state
Competing against third-seed St. John March 6 in the state 1A Division 1 tournament at Emporia proved to be tougher for the sixth-seed Lady Cougars than they or the coach expected. A strong defense and numerous steals resulted in a 55-26 loss.
St. John put on a full-court press, double-teaming or even triple-teaming point guard Shelby Makovec as she worked to bring the ball to the Centre end of the court. Coach Alan Stahlecker called it a “suffocating” defense for which he had not properly prepared his players.
“We struggled to get the ball where we wanted,” he said. “We had not seen that kind of defense all year. We had a total of 36 turnovers and we were only able to attempt seven shots in the first half. Our guards, who are very good ball handlers, were challenged every second that they had the ball.”
The first 10 turnovers occurred in the first quarter.
Makenzie Deines made a jump shot after St. John scored the first six points. The hard press resulted in several fouls by St. John. Makovec made two free throws, and St. John led, 12-4, at the end of the quarter.
The Lady Cougars turned the ball over another 10 times in the second quarter and had a difficult time scoring. Until Cacey Simons made a trey, Centre’s points came on free throws by Beka Basore and Bryanna Svoboda. St. John led, 26-10 at halftime.
St. John let up on their full-court press in the second half, but their defense remained strong, causing another 10 turnovers by the Lady Cougars. Makovec made a layup and Svoboda nailed a trey to add five points in the third quarter while St. John added 20.
Amy Makovec gave the Lady Cougars a boost in the fourth quarter, making a free throw and a field goal. Simons added a three-pointer and Shelby Makovec added five points. The team had six turnovers.
Shelby Makovec, the leading scorer on the team with an average of 14 points, was held to just nine total points.
Other scorers were Simons, 6; Svoboda, 4; Amy Makovec, 3; and Basore and Deines, 2 each.
The quarterfinal game was the last for seniors Basore, Genesis Rudolph, and Ellie Miller in their high school basketball careers.
“This year, we were ready to play basketball,” Basore said of the game. “Last year, we were so shocked — big gym, cool locker room — and we didn’t have high expectations because we were playing the number one, undefeated team. This year was a little different because we were seeded higher and were a lot more confident. The shock factor was still there but not as bad.
“We did have fun. We got to play basketball together as a team one more time.”
She was happy that her sister Ally, a freshman, got to play at the end. The team is already looking ahead to next year.
“The third year is a charm,” Basore noted.