William Chrisman can't solve Union's Rapert in loss in Class 5 state third-place game

Bill Althaus
The Examiner

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The smallest player on the court did the most damage as the William Chrisman girls basketball team could not find a way to stop 5-foot-5 Reagan Rapert.

The Union point guard, who is also the daughter of head coach Pat Rapert, shredded the Bears' defense for a game-high 31 points as the LadyCats defeated Chrisman 53-43 in the Class 5 Show-Me Showdown third-place game Friday at the Hammons Student Center.

More:Chrisman stages furious second half rally only to fall just short to Whitfield

Unlike the previous night, in which the Bears trailed 19-4 in the first quarter before storming back in the second half of a 53-47 loss to Whitfield, Chrisman led 13-11 after one quarter in the third-place game.

William Chrisman seniors Gia Moore, front left, and Amanda Szopinski share a tearful hug late in Friday's Class 5 state third-place game against Union. The Bears lost 53-43 in the seniors' final high school game.

“I was a little concerned about how we would start the game after that emotional loss last night,” Bears coach Scott Schaefer said. “But we came out and played well in the first quarter.

“Our work ethic was there all game and has been there all season.”

After scoring five points in the first quarter, Rapert hit two 3-pointers and finished with eight points in the second quarter and 18 in the half.

That helped the LadyCats take a 24-20 lead into halftime.

Jacque David, who had just one basket in the first half, kept the game close with eight points in the third quarter but the Bears could never really cut into their deficit and trailed 39-34 after three quarters.

Rapert hit five of six late free throws and added two more 3-pointers to earn the praise of Bears coach Scott Schaefer.

William Chrisman sophomore Mele Taula, center, drives to the hoop against Union defender Julia Overstreet, left, in the Class 5 state third-place game Friday in Springfield. Taula scored 12 points but the Bears lost 53-43 to finish fourth.

“I thought, for the most part, we gave a good effort,” Schaefer said, “but we couldn’t stop No. 11 (Rapert). She played an outstanding game.”

While he was disappointed in the outcome, he was thrilled with the journey that led to the Bears' first final four appearance since 1993.

“This has been an incredible group of young ladies to work with,” the veteran coach, who surpassed 600 career victories this season, said after his team wrapped up a 23-7 season. “Hopefully their success will open some doors in the future for other young ladies who want to represent our school in the same fashion.”

David was the lone Chrisman player in double figures, scoring a team-high 10 points. Amanda Szopinski and Mele Taula each scored nine.

William Chrisman senior Gia Moore (11) takes a shot over Union defender Madelyn Helling (20) in the Class 5 state third-place game Friday in Springfield. Moore managed just three points in her final high school game as the Bears lost 53-43 to finish fourth.
The William Chrisman girls basketball team poses with the Class 5 state fourth-place trophy after a 53-43 loss to Union in the third-place game at Hammons Student Center in Springfield Friday.