Girls basketball loses to Olathe East High School in KA-MO tournament championship

In the championship game between BVNW and OEHS, OEHS defeated BVNW by one point from a free throw, and BVNW placed second in the tournament.

Laney Breidenthal, Feature Editor

With 20.8 seconds left in the championship game of the 2015 KA-MO tournament, Olathe East had possession of the basketball with the score tied at 36. They attempted to drive around to the right side of the basket to score, encountering junior Mya Mertz, who then fouled OEHS with 4.4 seconds left and for the fourth time in the game. With a silent gymnasium, OEHS missed the first free throw with a sigh of relief from BVNW fans. She sinks the second, pushing OEHS into a one-point lead. BVNW takes it down the court and attempts to pass the ball, but it goes out of bounds, making OEHS erupt with excitement and the KA-MO tournament champions.

“[The team] will bounce back,” head coach Brian Bubalo said. “We were close enough, we had a chance to win this game. We’ve been playing good… It’s disappointing because it’s the championship game, but, on the other hand, we were in the championship game, and so we’ll bounce back.”

In the first quarter, sophomore Raegan Phillips, senior Lade Adepoju, who was BVNW’s leading scorer of the game with 11 points, senior Taylor Cowell and senior Deanna Bugarinovic all scored two points, with Cowell scoring twice, and Mertz had her first of three blocks of the game. At the end of the first quarter, BVNW was in the lead with a score of 10-8.

“Early, we started out well,” Bubalo said. “We made some shots, we were getting the ball where we wanted it.”

In the second quarter, Adepoju scored two from a layup with5:28 left in the quarter. OEHS called a timeout, and then OEHS scored four back-to-back points, making Bubalo call a timeout. Olathe East scored again, taking the lead. Mertz fouled for the first time, and OEHS made both of their shots. With 2:44 left in the second quarter, Cowell scored two, but it is immediately followed by OEHS shooting and scoring a three. Bubalo called another timeout. Adepoju had her first of four steals, is fouled, but she missed both shots. OEHS follows with another three, increasing their lead to 17-22 at the end of the quarter.

“[The second quarter] had a big impact,” Bubalo said. “The struggle in the middle caused us to fall behind. We struggled offensively from the middle of the second quarter to the middle of the fourth quarter, and their defense was pushing us out.”

In the third quarter, BVNW was fouled three times in the first two minutes, followed by BVNW fouling OEHS twice. Mertz had her second block of the game with 5:12 left in the quarter. She had her third foul a minute later as OEHS scored two, and then they made the free throw. With 3:06 left in the quarter, Adepoju had her second steal of the night, and then Cowell scored two. Adepoju stole the ball again and scored two points, forcing OEHS to call a timeout. Adepoju had her fourth steal, passing to Kathryn Hunt, who scored two. Bugarinovic scored two points at the buzzer, however BVNW was still behind with a score of 28-34 at the end of the quarter.

“On the screens, we didn’t call them all the time, so maybe we missed, they made a three or we didn’t defend well,” Adepoju said.

In the fourth quarter, Adepoju managed to get open in the middle of the lane and scored two with 3:27 left. With three minutes left, Bubalo called a timeout, infuriating the OEHS coach, Clint Evans, who yelled at the referees for not seeing him calling a timeout in the previous play. The referees gave him a technical, and senior Sarah Fugate went to the line, making both free throws. With two minutes left, Adepoju scored two points, tying the game at 36. With 41.6 seconds left, Bubalo called a timeout. Mertz had her fourth block of the game with 24.3 seconds left, and OEHS called a timeout. OEHS had possession of the ball. 4.4 seconds left, Mertz fouled, OEHS scored the free throw and OEHS won the game 36-37.

“I think that we started hard, then we went down a little bit, but then at the end, we were playing really hard,” Adepoju said. “We almost won. It feels really bad losing by one point, but I think that we played really hard against a team that is strong. We didn’t miss as much layups as other games, and we were getting offensive rebounds and we were defending hard most of the time.”

After the game, Adepoju was recognized for her efforts in the tournament and was selected to be on the all-tournament team. According to Bubalo, the coaches select five players from schools other than their own to recognize the top five players of the tournament.

“It’s nice to get some recognition,” Bubalo said about the award. “When the team wins, when you finish high in the tournament, then awards usually follow, and that was the case here. The team did well. We had a number of players who played well, and [Adepoju] was the one who coaches picked, and it’s nice to get an award like that. No player gets the award on her own completely, so it’s a good honor for her, but it’s also a team thing; everybody shares it.”