Girls basketball defeats Blue Springs, going to championship

The girls varsity basketball team defeated Blue Springs High School in the semifinals Wednesday. They will advance to the championship against Olathe East on Friday.

Laney Breidenthal, Feature editor

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In the 2015 KA-MO Classic girls basketball tournament held at Blue Valley North, the girls varsity basketball team defeated Blue Springs High School in the semifinal game 53-47, taking them into the championship game of the tournament.

The game started off on a high note with junior Mya Mertz winning the tip-off and, about a minute later, scoring the first two points of the game. By the end of the first quarter, BVNW fouled Blue Springs a total of five times, two of which were Mertz’s. However, BVNW kept scoring, making the score at the end of the first quarter 12 to 8, taking the lead, which they would keep over the course of the game.

According to both team captain Deanna Bugarinovic and head coach Brian Bubalo, one of the team’s weaknesses during the game was the amount of times they fouled Blue Springs.

“We’ve got to do a better job defending without fouling, way too many fouls tonight, Bubalo said. “This was a tough team to [play] because they were a lot shorter than us and quick, so that had something to do with it. We have to guard without fouling. It gave them too many free throws. We had people on the bench that we needed in the game, so it’s kind of a two-edged sword there.”

In the second quarter, BVNW continued to gain momentum. Sophomore Raegan Phillips, who led the team in points, and senior Sarah Fugate shot and made key three pointers. Seniors Taylor Cowell and Kathryn Hunt also contributed to the score, both making a shot. At the end of the half, BVNW maintained its lead with a score of 26 to 16.

“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Bubalo said. “I was really happy; [we had] a good start. We have been talking about getting off to a good start… We got off to a good start, we had our confidence up and built up the lead. We made a few mistakes at the end, but we had a big enough cushion that we were able to hold it [for the rest of the game].”

In the third quarter, the team racked up four more fouls, but they still found opportunities to score and make good passes, according to Bubalo. BVNW clung to the lead, with the score at 39 to 24 after the third quarter.

“We passed the ball real well, and we played together as a team on offense,” Bubalo said. “Passing got us a lot of open shots, especially in the first three quarters… and we got some wide open layups because we were passing the ball and cutting to the basket, so good passing usually results in good shots, and that usually results in points.”

As in the third quarter, BVNW continued to foul Blue Springs, putting five more fouls on the board, two belonging to senior Lade Adepoju, who fouled out of the game with 2:51 left in the fourth quarter. This gave Blue Springs a chance to come back, however, they could not gain the lead, and the final score of the game was 53 to 47, propelling BVNW into the championship game of the tournament.

“We fouled too much, I think,” Bugarinovic said. “I think we didn’t have to foul as much as we did. They got easy points off of free throws, which helped them come back.”

BVNW will play Olathe East in the championship game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Blue Valley North.