After 30 years, Olathe South’s early season girls basketball tournament came to an end Friday night in predictable fashion: The Falcons won the tourney title for the eighth straight year, this time beating Blue Valley 55-45.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
Olathe South hit from the outside and the free throw line — while taking care of the ball — to run its record to 3-0 on the young season.
All in all, it was a good birthday for Falcons coach Steve Ingram, who was serenaded by his team after the award presentations.
“We defended fairly well and we have some kids that can shoot it,” Ingram said. “It is nice to win the last tournament game.”
Olathe South led 23-17 at intermission, in large part because the Falcons connected on five three-pointers in the opening 16 minutes.
Sophomore Kylee Kopatich had 10 first-quarter points and tournament MVP Bailey Rinehart had seven first-half points.
“We gave up too many open looks in the first half,” said Blue Valley coach Andy Unrein, whose team dropped to 2-1.
Unrein’s players shaved the deficit to 23-21 on a three-pointer by junior Sydnie Hanson 52 seconds into the third quarter but never could get any closer.
Rinehart had seven points in the third quarter, helping Olathe South to a 39-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We were forced to foul in the fourth quarter or this might have been a six-point game,” Unrein said.
And putting the Falcons on the free throw line was not a good idea on Friday. They were three-of-four in the third quarter and 10-of-12 in the final period.
“I thought Kopatich, Rinehart and (sophomore Jordan) Morton played well,” Ingram said. “We tried to get the ball to our people who can score and keep it way from their scorers.”
Kopatich was the game’s leading scorer with 22 points and had a team-high seven rebounds. Rinehart added 16 and Morton 12.
The Falcons finished the game with six three-pointers and connected on 18-of-42 from the field and 13-of-16 from the free throw line.
The Tigers had three players in double figures, led by senior Jarin Braithwait with 13 points. Hanson added 11, including three three-pointers, and freshman Maddie Newell had 10 points.
Blue Valley was 17-of-33 from the field, but just seven-of-12 at the free throw line. The Tigers turned the ball over 14 times to just seven for the Falcons.