Seniors Szopinski, David power Chrisman to sectional victory

Karl Zinke
The Examiner
William Chrisman guard Amanda Szopinski (44) celebrates with teammate Jacque David (34) after scoring while getting fouled in their Class 5 sectional playoff at Grandview Wednesday. The senior duo combined for 32 points to lead the Bears to a 48-36 win and into Saturday's state quarterfinal against Smithville.

The seniors for William Chrisman first came together when they first learned the game of basketball.

Now they’re hoping to go out on top together.

The Bears – powered by senior guard Amanda Szopinski and senior post Jacque David – took another step on that path Wednesday night. The duo combined for 32 points to spark Chrisman to a 48-36 Class 5 sectional playoff win over the host Grandview Bulldogs.

The Bears are now one of the final eight teams left in Class 5 and will play host to Smithville in a state quarterfinal at 1 p.m. Saturday.

David said the Bears are confident heading into that game, which puts them one step away from the state final four.

“It really is to go to state,” David said of their goal after the Bears claimed their 15th straight win. “We honestly have a special group of girls, and the seniors especially, we have the special bond we have because we’ve been playing together for so long. Since literally we can remember, we started basketball together, and now we’re trying to finish it together.”

The Bears were finally able to finish off the feisty Bulldogs after leading the entire game – but most of the time it was single-digit advantages.

William Chrisman senior forward Jacque David is fouled by Grandview defender Essence Kendall, left, as she goes up for a shot in their Class 5 sectional playoff Wednesday. David, despite being collapsed on all night by the Bulldogs' defense, managed to tally 15 points and eight rebounds to help lead the Bears to a 48-36 win.

And to do that, Chrisman had to be very patient and work openings in Grandview’s sagging 2-3 zone defense that draped itself on David in the lane.

“We had to be,” Chrisman coach Scott Schaefer said of his team being patient on the offensive end. “They’re so big and they packed it in. We normally shoot a little bit better than that, so it was a good strategy on their part, but obviously we’re happy with the end result.”

David still managed 15 points and eight rebounds despite all of the attention. She tallied nine of those points and six rebounds in the first half to keep the Bears ahead 20-12 at halftime.

William Chrisman senior guard Amanda Szopinski, center, drives the ball between Grandview defenders A'myah Bankston (1) and Cierra Smith Wednesday. Szopinski scored a team-high 17 points to lead the Bears to a 48-36 win in the Class 5 sectional playoff.

Szopinski took over in the second half, aggressively attacking the basket to draw fouls and take feeds from David and fellow senior Gia Moore. Szopinski tallied 14 of her team-high 17 points in the second half when the Bears got a little stagnant.

“We were up but I felt like since no one else was trying to move and get open, I was just trying to create something,” said Szopinski, who finished 7 of 8 from the free throw line in the final two quarters and 8 of 9 overall.

Added David: “And we needed somebody to get us going.”

Moore buried her second 3-pointer with just 1.4 seconds left in the third period to put the Bears ahead 34-23 going into the final quarter.

With coach Scott Schaefer looking on in the background, William Chrisman senior guard Gia Moore (11) launches a 3-point shot in the Class 5 sectional playoff at Grandview. Moore scored eight points to help the Bears to a 48-36 victory.

David sank a one-hander to answer a 3-pointer by Grandview’s LaShonia Whyte, and Szopinski scored consecutive baskets on a pair of adroit passes from Moore while cutting to the hoop to make it 40-27 with 5:30 left.

“She had some really nice cuts,” Schaefer said of Szopinski. “Jacque gets so much attention at the low post area, and Amanda had some really nice cuts into the interior of their defense, and that helped us.”

Szopinski (8) and David (6) combined for all 14 of Chrisman’s points in the fourth quarter to offset a strong night by Grandview junior guard Cierra Smith, who tallied 26 of her team’s 36 points.

Moore finished with eight points and Jolee Spinks chipped in five for the 22-5 Bears, who go into Saturday just one step away from the program’s first final four berth since 1993.

“I think our special bond that we have together really helps our team, helps the way we play,” David said. “We just support each other, and our confidence level is good.”

William Chrisman forward Jolee Spinks (24) snags a rebound in Wednesday's Class 5 sectional playoff. The Bears went on to a 48-36 win, their 15th straight.