Pleasant Hill girls’ basketball coach Josh Adamczyk was in no mood for silver linings.
Adamczyk could find no upside to the way the Chicks ended their season, even if it was within a whisker of a district title after losing their last six regular-season games.
He had just watched Pleasant Hill, which trailed for three quarters, stage an electrifying 13-0 rally in the fourth period only to fall in the closing seconds against Nevada 69-66 during the Class 4, District 12 final March 3 at Pleasant Hill.
“I’m so proud of these girls, and it (stinks) that we had to lose like this,” Adamczyk said. “I don’t have any words, it just (stinks).”
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Certainly, it was a tough way to end a season, but the Chicks’ season seemed over way before that game.
Pleasant Hill (10-16), which started out 3-2 in Missouri River Valley Conference West play, closed the conference season with six straight losses and limped into district play with an 8-15 record as the No. 4 seed.
The silver lining was that the Chicks had a halftime lead in each of those six losses, so Adamczyk felt this team still had some fight left in it.
Pleasant Hill proved him right by beating Warresnsburg 52-46 in the first round and upsetting No. 1 seed Clinton 45-36 to reach the final.
“We had a bad stretch of six games ... but in these last three games they’ve been amazing,” Adamczyk said. “They’re so resilient. We talked about believing and not doubting, and they believed in themselves more in these last three game then they have all year.”
The belief never wavered even as the Chicks entered the fourth quarter down 54-45 after trailing by double digits almost since the opening tip.
“The seniors especially were like, ‘Let’s get pumped, let’s go for it, give it all we’ve got and put our hearts on the line,’” Pleasant Hill senior Callie Miller said. “And I think we did that.”
Miller finished with 20 points, none of them bigger than the three-pointer she sank for a 54-54 tie.
Taylor Shewmaker scored on the Chicks’ next possession before Miller added a leaner to cap the run and give Pleasant Hill a 58-54 lead.
“They kind of feed off when they play defense,” Adamczyk said. “When they play defense and they get stops and they get that confidence, that really helps us, and that’s what happened.”
Nevada (18-8) regained the lead with an 8-0 run, but Pleasant Hill went back up 63-62 when Paige Zieman hit a three-pointer off a backcourt steal with just over a minute left.
The game see-sawed from there.
Calli Beshore, who scored 20 points for Nevada, put the Tigers back on top 64-63 with two free throws, but the Chicks answered with a basket by Chesnea Philipsheck off a lob from Miller with 33 seconds left.
Eventually, Nevada worked Hailee Lundine free for a three-pointer with 14 seconds left and Beshore sealed it with two free throws in the final seconds.
The game didn’t start out being a nail-biter, not after Nevada peppered Pleasant Hill’s zone defense for four three-pointers from four different players for a 12-3 lead. The Chicks closed a 20-10 first-quarter gap to 37-31 by halftime, but Nevada built a 12-point lead in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter would be a different story — one that nearly had an unexpected happy ending for Pleasant Hill.
“The stars really aligned for us in district play,” Miller said. “It does kind of stink that we go out this way but I’m proud of us for getting this far.”
Nevada ended Harrisonville’s season with a 37-32 victory in the semifinals. The Wildcats, who had won their first girls’ basketball distrit title in 35 years last sesason, finished the season 14-13.
Pleasant Hill’s boys (14-13) beat Clinton 62-59 in the first round and lost to Nevada 66-51 in the semifinals, while Harrisonville’s boys (15-11) lost to Warrensburg 65-37 in the first round.