Grain Valley had no answer for O’Hara’s size Friday night.

Grain Valley had no answer for O’Hara’s size Friday night.
Nor could the host Eagles answer the Celtics’ speed or athleticism in a 63-30 loss in the championship game of the Grain Valley Eagle Sonic Showdown.
Starting three girls at 5-foot-11 or taller – including a pair of 6-2 girls – the Celtics controlled the game offensively inside, and used a stifling trapping defense to force the Eagles into close to 20 turnovers and a less than 25 percent shooting performance from the floor.
“That hurt a lot,” Eagles guard Taylor Lipps said of the O’Hara height. “We were trying to throw passes through their hands. But that doesn’t work when their shortest girl is 5-7.
“And it wasn’t just their size. Their tall girls are good. I played with a lot of them in summer ball. I know they’re good.”
Point guard Ashley Bundren would not use O’Hara’s height as an excuse.
“It doesn’t matter the size or the speed,” she said. “We just didn’t have our game tonight. We expect most teams to be bigger than us. But we have something bigger – heart. We just couldn’t find ours tonight.
“Coach (Steve Broughton) told us in the locker room we played like our first two games of the season and he’s right. We were out of control. Everyone was involved, especially me.”
Offensive rebounding helped O’Hara (14-3) build an early 10-2 advantage that the Eagles could never threaten. Grain Valley never trailed by less than four points after the first quarter.
“It got away early,” Broughton said. “And we just didn’t have any confidence after the way it started. Our defense couldn’t get any stops. Inherently, it’s hard to guard 6-2 with 5-6 or 5-10 with 5-5.”
Lipps led the Eagles (12-5) with 10 points, while Bundren added seven. Both were named to the all-tournament team.
Broughton said, despite the loss, he was proud of his team for coming from the seventh seed to making the championship game.
“We really played well Monday and Wednesday as a seventh seed to get to the finals,” he said.
Bundren said the Eagles need to shake off this loss and focus on Missouri River Valley Conference West play, which resumes next week with preseason favorite Harrisonville.
“This is just a tournament,” she said. “We need to look ahead and play as hard as we can against Harrisonville. We want to be strong in the conference and repeat as champions.”
Independence resident Alex Smith, who plays for O’Hara, was also selected to the all-tournament team.