Lady Reds conquer Olathe, move on to Manitou Springs

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Caiden Rexius (16) scores on a layup.

Sydney Booth

 

By Sydney Booth

What Happened: In a heated battle, the Lady Reds (21-3 overall) beat the Olathe Pirates (18-6 overall) on their home court 45-42 on March 5. The game was hard fought by both teams, but the Reds were able to execute plays and take care of the ball in the final minutes of the game when it really mattered.  Head coach Todd Hernandez said, “There at the end I think it was just about maintaining our composure. We talked about how we’re an experienced team with juniors and seniors that have been through this before. That’s what I told Kaitlin [Carey (16)] and Bailey when they were out there, ‘You guys have been through this before, you know what to do.’”

By the numbers: Eaton started out with a steady pace in the first quarter that ultimately left them ahead. After three minutes of play, the Reds were up 6-2 when Kaci Jurgensmeier (16) hit a three pointer. The pace started picking up after that when Eaton scored on layups and steals. The quarter ended at 13-11 in favor of the Reds. However, in the second quarter, Eaton could not get shots to go in after two minutes of play. Olathe used this opportunity to take its first lead of the game at 14-13. With four minutes left, the Reds still had not scored. Lindy Dixon (16) drained a three pointer after a series of putbacks from the Reds and some easy opportunities for Olathe. Eaton was only four points down at halftime: 20-24. After halftime, Eaton started to play more aggressively, limiting more of Olathe’s second shots. At 5:49, the teams had it tied up at 26 points. Bailey Schumacher hit a long three pointer, putting the Reds up to 29 points. Olathe continued to score and work fast on offense, and they had three more points than the Reds by the end of the third quarter. Coming into the fourth, the score was 33-36 Olathe. In the very first possession of the fourth, Dixon came out and swished a three. Eaton worked hard for more drives and layups, but Olathe was not giving up, either. With the score tied at 40 and about thirty seconds to go, Eaton scored a three pointer and Caiden Rexius (16) cemented the win. She was fouled on a shot that came from her steal and made both free throws. Rexius led the team in rebounds (12). Rexius said, “We were down so our main focus was just putting the ball in the basket and playing smart basketball.” The Reds squeaked by with a 45-42 win.

Should’ve seen it: With only 30 seconds left in the game and the score 40-40, Bailey Schumacher (16) hit her famous end-game three pointer, putting the Reds up 43-40. Schumacher said, “When we were in the timeout I was just thinking, ‘Have confidence, you can make a shot.’ I was just telling myself to have confidence in myself and in my team. Going out and executing [the play] was great.” Schumacher scored the most points (15) out of her team.

And the crowd: Eaton fans started to let it all out on the referees when a series of controversial calls were made. Schumacher scored a layup on a drive but she was fouled with a charge on the drive. Several other instances occurred where Eaton fans let the crowd know they thought that Olathe was guilty of charging.

Up Next: In what’s sure to be one of the most intense games the Reds have played all season, their next game will be against the Manitou Springs Mustangs (23-1 overall) on Thursday, March 10 at the Denver Coliseum at 7 p.m. Manitou is third seed in the 3A bracket, and Eaton is sixth seed according to Maxpreps. The winner of the upcoming game will play either Sterling (second seed) or Faith Christian (10 seed), although Sterling is the projected winner.