The way Kierra Collier’s night was going, there were no better hands to have the ball in at the end of the game.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
Collier, a freshman guard, helped Blue Valley North build a 4-point lead heading into the final minute of a game against St. Thomas Aquinas, but saw that quickly erased as Aquinas hit four straight free throws that tied the score with 18.4 seconds left.
Collier, though, got another chance to seal the game after a foul sent her to the line with 8.2 seconds left.
Collier’s first free throw rattled out, but she knocked in the second, giving BV North a 50-49 victory against Aquinas for the the 2014 KA-MO Classic championsip.
“I was just scared I was going to miss them,” said Collier, who was 10 for 14 from the line in the game. “I had to make these for my team.”
Collier led the Mustangs with 24 points, including BV North’s final 10 of the game. She was named to the all-tournament team along with BV Norrth senior forward Maria Klug.
“It was a great ending,” Mustangs head coach Ann Fritz said. “We played great, they played well together. At different moments everybody stepped up.”
With the victory, the Mustangs avenged a 55-41 loss from earlier in the season and handed the Saints their first Eastern Kansas League defeat. BV North improved to 9-2 overall and 4-2 in conference play, while Aquinas dropped to 7-2 and 5-1.
The Mustangs led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter and used an 8-0 run to grow their lead in the second. But the Saints caught up in the third behind 12 points from senior guard Tia Weledji. The two teams were tied at the beginning of the fourth and fought through eight lead changes before the Mustangs came out on top.
“We played together, kept our heads up and didn’t get down when we were low,” Collier said.
Weledji, who was named co-MVP of the tournament along with Staley senior guard Monique Townson, led the Saints with 20 points. Aquinas forward Claire Ferguson also made the all-tournament-team and finished with 13 points.