Brooke Parton had not yet been born the last time William Chrisman celebrated winning a girls basketball district championship

Brooke Parton had not yet been born the last time William Chrisman celebrated winning a girls basketball district championship

It isn’t known if the freshman guard – born in 1994 – was even a thought at the time, but after her play in the Bears’ 53-41 win over Truman in the Class 5 District 15 championship game Friday at North Kansas City High School, she’ll definitely be on the minds of teammates, fans and future opponents.

“It feels so dang good,” Parton said after knocking down three 3-pointers on her way to 13 points off the bench. “To come in and beat Truman to win our 20th game and win districts? It feels so good.”

The Bears (20-9) advanced to Wednesday’s Class 5 sectional round at the Independence Events Center, where they will take on the winner of the Class 5 District 16 championship game Saturday in St. Joseph between St. Joseph Central and Liberty.

William Chrisman head coach Lindsay Thompson said she had two goals for her basketball team heading into this season. One was a 20-win season and the other was to win the Suburban Big Six conference title, a feat accomplished when Chrisman and Truman tied for the conference championship.

On Friday night, the Bears not only gained their 20th win of the season, but added a piece of hardware to their collection not seen at the school in 17 years.

“The cherry on the top,” Thompson said of the program’s first district championship since 1993. “I thought that tonight, we showed 32 minutes of toughness better than we probably have all year.

“We never let ourselves get discouraged, we fought the entire time, we rebounded the ball and we defended well. Everything that we did tonight was in our favor.”

Truman head coach Steve Cassity echoed Thompson’s take on the game in which Chrisman outrebounded the Pats 33-21 and held them to a 30-percent shooting night.

“If you’re going to shoot poorly like that, you have to beat them on the glass or turn them over,” Cassity said. “You have to beat them somewhere else, and we didn’t do that either. You can’t couple a bad shooting night with a bad rebounding night.”

Senior center Brittany McQuain led the Bears with 19 points and 11 rebounds. She said a win over Truman for the district title was better than sharing the conference title.

“It feels great because we don’t have to share this – at all,” McQuain said. “This is all ours. I’m so happy for it. All the girls worked so hard and I’m just speechless.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world to know that we got to end our rival’s season. It’s just – I feel on top of the world. It’s amazing. I love it.”

Both teams came out of the gate strong. Thanks to Becca Strobbe’s five first-quarter points, Truman led 11-10 after the opening eight minutes.

McQuain, who scored six points in the first quarter, was held scoreless in the second, but Parton picked up the slack with a 3-pointer and a layup to help the Bears go into halftime tied at 26-26.

Junior guard Calle Edwards gave Chrisman its first lead of the game when she nailed a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the third quarter to make it 29-26. Nearly three minutes elapsed before McQuain’s free throw made it 30-26 with 4:18 left in the third quarter.

Another 3-pointer by Parton put the Bears up 33-26, but Truman’s Kassidy Ritchel hit a jump shot to pull the Patriots to within five with less than three minutes to go in the quarter. Mikayla Jensen followed with two free throws to cut the Pats’ deficit to three.

A Ritchel jumper from the wing made it 33-32, prompting Thompson to call a timeout with 2:05 left in the third quarter. Switching from a man-to-man, half-court defense into a 2-3 zone, the Bears outscored the Pats 20-9 over the next 10-plus minutes to come away with the win.

“We don’t run zone very much at all,” Thompson said. “We like to get out and guard (man-to-man) really aggressively. We threw a little zone at them in the first half and it looked pretty good, so we stuck with it for a little while. We wanted to force them to make difficult shots and it worked in our favor.”

Cassity said the move by Thompson was a good one.

“They played a great zone,” Cassity said. “I thought we got some shots against it, we just didn’t finish.

The Bears held Truman leading scorer Becca Strobbe to a modest 16 points after Strobbe lit up North Kansas City for 33 points in Wednesday’s semifinal.

“Becca – she’s a great player – we knew they were going to come out and try to put the ball in her hands as much as possible,” Thompson said. “We wanted to make it really tough for her to shoot. We wanted – she’s going to get some shoots, she’s good player – we just wanted to make it difficult and we did a really god job of that tonight.”

Strobbe said the Pats just couldn’t get it done on offense.

“We just didn’t hit our shots,” Strobbe said. “We came out and hit the boards in the second half, we just didn’t hit many shots.”

Ritchel, a senior, said she was sad to end her basketball career short of a district title. She scored 10 points before fouling out with 1:41 left.

“It’s just so sad to see it all come to an end,” Ritchel said as she tried to fight off tears. “It’s just hard. I think I’ll miss the girls more than anything and Coach Cassity. He’s done so much this year for me, it’s just crazy. I wish I had him more than one year.”

As for the Bears, winning the program’s first district championship since the early 1990s, Thompson said she discussed with her squad Thursday the ramifications of defeating Truman for the second time in three games this season.

“We looked yesterday at the banners and we talked about putting our year up there for (winning) conference,” Thompson said. “Now being able to put it there for districts is amazing.”