For one quarter, one frantic and disappointing eight minutes of high school basketball, the visiting Ruskin Eagles owned a shocking 14-9 lead over the No. 3 state ranked William Chrisman Bears.
The last time the two conference rivals played, coach Scott Schaefer’s Bears claimed a 70-34 running clock victory.
But the Bears rebounded on a Tuesday Senior Night to score 27 points in the second quarter and take a 36-24 lead into halftime of a game they won 62-41.
“We were out of it the first quarter,” admitted guard Amanda Szopinski, who scored seven of her 12 points in the second quarter. “We’d just come off a big win over (No. 2 state ranked) North Kansas City and we were playing a team we beat easily last time we played them.
“Coach Schaefer let us know we had to play better between the first and second periods, and we went out and played the way we are capable of playing the rest of the game.”
Forward Jacque David, who led the Bears with 19 points and 11 rebounds, said the Bears learned an important lesson against the never-say-die Eagles.
“We played so hard and so well against North Kansas City, and since that win we haven’t practiced very well and tonight we didn’t play very well the first quarter,” David said. “But – and this is important – we got our heads on straight and played the type of basketball that helped us beat North Kansas City and get ranked in the state.
“And it was Senior Night, and there were some distractions, but we found out that if we don’t play up to our ability, any team can beat us. We’re lucky we found that our before the playoffs start (in two weeks).”
Schaefer, whose team is 21-2 overall and 9-1 in the Suburban Middle Seven, was pleased with David’s insight and analysis.
“There were a lot of distractions this week, and tonight, with it being Senior Night,” Schaefer said. “And the girls found out tonight that Ruskin came out strong and took it to us the first quarter.
“They had us on our heels. But, our kids showed their resiliency and came back and played some very good basketball in the second period and for the remainder of the game.
“It’s absolutely good to see them overcome a bad start like we had tonight. That is something that can be quite beneficial later in the season.”
The Bears’ two lone seniors are starters Adreal Bell and Tierra Lopez, who started despite having a heavily bandaged right leg.
“It’s the last time I get to play on our home court the rest of my life,” Lopez said.
Added Bell, “It’s nice to play our last game on our home court with all our fans supporting us.”
Jennifer David, Jacque’s junior sister, came off the bench to provide a spark and finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.