• Kearney stuns Patriots in final

  • Truman’s run at an undefeated, state championship girls basketball season is over.

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  • By Shawn Roney
    The Examiner
    Truman’s run at an undefeated, state championship girls basketball season is over.
    It ended Friday night in a packed Liberty High School gym. But the Patriots’ 40-35 season-ending loss to Kearney in the Class District 15 final didn’t tarnish their season, Truman coach Steve Cassity said.
    “We lost to a team that has 24 wins … and there’s no shame in that,” Cassity said.
    The Bulldogs improved to 24-2 after ending the Class 5 top-ranked Patriots’ season at 25-1. They’ll play the District 16 winner, Staley or North Kansas City, at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Independence Events Center.
    To advance, Kearney had to gut out a defensive-oriented tussle with Truman. It was 11-8 Truman after one quarter, 14-13 Kearney at halftime and 21-19 Kearney after three quarters before the teams combined for 35 fourth-quarter points.
    Bulldogs coach Troy Resler had anticipated a low-scoring game because of both defenses.
    “Now at the same time, I think Coach Cassity and myself would both say that we didn’t make any shots – and we’ve (each) got shooters on our team,” Resler said. “It easily could’ve gotten up there a little bit higher, if either one of us would’ve hit.”
    Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field. The Bulldogs made 14 of 42 field goal attempts (33 percent). The Patriots went 10 for 42 (23.8 percent). Abby Hix, Truman’s leading scorer, scored most of her 11 points not from the field, but rather, by making 6 of 6 free throws.
    Truman post player Becca Jonas, who scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds, admitted the Patriots struggled with working the ball inside for high-percentage shots against post player Taylor Doan, 6-foot-4 sophomore. But then, the Patriots also weren’t running their offense the way they had planned “in the beginning,” she said.
    “We began to (run it the way we wanted to) in the third and fourth quarters, but it’s just hard to recover,” Jonas said.
    Doan attributed Kearney’s containment of Truman’s offense to teamwork.
    “We worked as one – five players as one,” she said. “That’s how we do it.”
    That teamwork resulted in the Bulldogs eliminating the only undefeated Class 5 girls team. In fact, the Patriots were one of only four undefeated teams in Missouri’s five girls basketball classes entering district finals competition. Only one undefeated team remains: Incarnate Word, a Class 4 St. Louis-area school.
    And because Kearney’s defense prevailed, Friday was the farewell for four Truman seniors: Sandra Chiles, Ashley Guenther, Darci Kern and Brooke Parton.
    “They’re our best friends, honestly – the seniors are,” said Jonas, a junior. “What we talked about in there (in the locker room afterward) was hardly (about) basketball. We were talking about all our memories we had with them. That’s what we’re going to look back and remember ... the most.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “But life goes on,” Jonas added. “Seniors graduate. We’ve just got to come back strong next year.”

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