The St. Thomas Aquinas girls survived poor free-throw shooting in beating Blue Valley Southwest 46-37 in a battle of unbeaten teams Friday at BV Southwest.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The Saints, who improved to 7-0, were just seven-of-18 from the free throw line in the second half, but used good defense to win the East Kansas League game.
The loss was the first for the Timberwolves in six games.
Aquinas outscored the Timberwolves 11-3 during a crucial stretch in the third quarter, turning a 26-23 advantage into a 37-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“The third quarter was tough because they slowed it down and took good shots,” said BV Southwest coach Rick Rhoades said.
The Timberwolves pressed in the fourth quarter and made the game interesting.
“We used the pressure defense to try and pick up the pace,” Rhoades said.
The Saints didn’t score in the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter allowing the Timberwolves to cut the margin to six, but 6-2 Aquinas sophomore Claire Ferguson had an inside basket and scored on a layup against the press 1:46 left to make it 41-35.
“They beat us to a lot of loose ball tonight,” Saints coach Rick Hetzel. “We played better defensively in the second half.”
BV Southwest freshman point guard Rilynne Like had 15 first-half points, but was held to just two in the second half.
“That freshman point guard really helps them,” Hetzel said.
BV Southwest senior Hunter Thomas had 16 points, including eight in the fourth quarter. She transferred to BV Southwest from Aquinas after her junior season.
“We wanted to get her the ball and see what she could do,” Rhoades said.
The Timberwolves’ Rilynne Like scored a game-high 17.
Ferguson led the Saints with 12 points, while junior Tia Weledji added 11. Aquinas junior Kelly Sweeney had 10 off the bench.
BV Southwest boys top Aquinas
Aquinas and BV Southwest also squared off on Friday night, and this one was decided at the buzzer.
BV Southwest’s Donnel Bronson hit a bank shot with time running out to give the Timberwolves a 48-46 victory.
Bronson, a 6-1 senior, got his chance by coming away with an offensive rebound after Colton Miller missed a shot from the right baseline.
Bronson’s basket made for only the third and fourth points that the Timberwolves scored in the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves improved to 6-0 with the victory.
BV Southwest led 34-24 at halftime with senior Dominque O’Connor leading the way with 15 points. But he suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and didn’t return.
Bronson finished with 10 points for BV Southwest.
Aquinas senior Tyler Clement had a game-high 22 points.