PECULIAR — Friday night, William Chrisman girls basketball coach Lindsay Thompson saw her players do something they had worked on in practice this week – protect a late lead.
The Bears led undefeated Grandview 51-47 with 1:31 to play in their Sonic Classic semifinal at Raymore-Peculiar High School. Although the Bulldogs made it a one-point game with about a minute to play and then had the chance to pull off a buzzer-beating victory, Chrisman held on for a 55-53 win.
Thompson praised the Bears (4-5) for their “understanding of time situation (and) score.”
“When we came to a timeout,” she said, “I felt like we were really good ... (at thinking), ‘Hey, this is just like we did the other day. We’ve been working on this. We’ve been practicing it. We’ve had the exact same situation. We have seconds left. We have to protect the lead.’”
In working with Chrisman on lead protection, there were several lessons Thompson taught that the Bears took to heart Friday, according to guards Makenzie Erikson and Adreon Bell, who each scored 15 points to lead Chrisman. Bell said Thompson discussed taking care of the ball at crunch time, and that avoiding late turnovers helped Chrisman secure the win.
“We played smart and didn’t rush anything,” Bell said, “and ran through plays and did what our coach asked.”
Another lesson was the importance of making a defensive stand, scoring and then making another defensive stand at crunch time, Erikson said.
“I think we really focused on that tonight – on getting a great stop and then immediately scoring,” the junior said. “We practiced that a lot.”
Bulldogs coach Shannon Moore felt that it shouldn’t have been a nailbiter.
“We had good leads, and we just let it get away from us,” Moore said. “But that’s probably a tribute their coaching staff. I know that she gets those girls working really hard. They’re a gritty group. They’ll fight to the end, and we’ve got to learn to do that same thing.”
By fighting to the end, the Bears advanced to face Lee’s Summit West for the tournament title at 5:30 p.m. today.
“I felt like it’s going to be a big game and no team’s going to blow anybody out,” Bell said. “It’s going to be close and a good one.”
Grandview (8-1) will play St. Teresa’s Academy for third place at 4 p.m. Saturday.