What a difference a week makes.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
Blue Valley North connected on seven of eight free throws in overtime Friday to turn back host St. Thomas Aquinas 58-54 in an East Kansas League game.
The victory was sweet for the Mustangs, who lost a one-point decision to Olathe East in their opener last Friday when they turned the ball over and didn’t hit their free throws in the last minute.
“We executed better tonight than we did last week,” BV North coach Ryan Phifer said. “We worked for five days on free throws and executing against pressure, and it paid off tonight.”
The Saints had erased a five-point deficit in the last two minutes of regulation to force overtime. Sophomore Riley Pint connected on a three-pointer to cut the margin to two, and senior John Kohnle hit two free throws with 31 seconds left to tie the game 48-48.
The Saints’ run briefly continued into overtime when Kohnle gave Aquinas a one-point lead with a free throw 17 seconds into the extra period. But senior Grant Schraeder hit a three-pointer for the Mustangs, who then took a charge with 2:54 left.
BV North didn’t have a field goal in the last two minutes but it was seven of eight from the free throw line to seal the victory.
The start of the game saw more fouls than points as the Mustangs built a meager 6-4 advantage after one quarter.
“We had all our starters with two fouls early,” Phifer said. “We battled foul trouble, and we got key minutes off the bench.”
Senior Joe Morrow led the Mustangs with 17 points and senior Jawan Emery added 13.
The Saints had four players in double figures, led by junior James Pyle with 15. Junior Adam Kutney and sophomore Riley Pint added 13 each. Senior John Kohnle had 10 tallies.
The victory evened the Mustangs’ record at 1-1, while the Saints fell to 1-2.
Aquinas girls 55, BV North 41
In the girls game, the defending Kansas Class 5A champion Saints didn’t have any problem with the visitors.
BV North used a zone defense early, but the Saints were able to get the lead despite the tactic. With 4:20 left in the second quarter, Aquinas took over a minute off the clock trying to force BV North to come out of its zone.
“We choose to delay because we were in foul trouble,” Aquinas coach Rick Hetzel said.
The Saints led 33-18 at the half and 51-27 after three quarters.
Junior Claire Ferguson led Aquinas with 13 points, with nine of them coming in the second half. Senior Tia Weledji added 12.
BV North freshman Kierra Collier led all scorers with 19 points.
“We had a lot of energy and played well together,” Hetzel said. “It was a total team effort.”
Aquinas is undefeated at 2-0.