When Olathe South retired to the locker room at halftime Friday night, senior guard Bailey Rinehart said the Falcons knew just how serious their turnover problem was without coach Steve Ingram even having to say a number.
The Falcons, No. 3 in the Star’s big-class rankings, had gotten off to a rough start against Leavenworth, No. 1 in the rankings, with five first-quarter turnovers and finished the half with seven, but overcame an early nine-point deficit to trail by just two points at the break.
After they cleaned up on offense and locked down on defense, the Falcons cruised to a 61-48 victory and handed the Pioneers their first loss of the season. Olathe South improved to 12-1 with the victory and Leavenworth dropped to 12-1.
“We figured out that we had to stop the post and make sure that at all points the posts were doubled and take care of the ball,” Rinehart said. “The first half our turnovers were ridiculous. But the second half, we did a much better job taking care of the ball.”
Olathe South was held to just six points in the first quarter as Leavenworth capitalized on those turnovers and built up a nine-point lead. However the Falcons bounced back for 19 points in the second quarter, which included an 8-0 run at the end to cut the lead to two points before halftime. Out of the break, the Falcons turned to their senior leadership and out-scored the Pioneers 36-21 and led by as many as 18 points.
Seniors Samantha Samskey and Bailey Rinehart combined for 20 of the Falcons’ points in the second half. They led the team with 19 and 18 points respectively. Junior Kylee Kopatich added all seven of her points in the third quarter.
The victory pushed Olathe South past Leavenworth in the Sunflower League standings with a 5-0 record in league play. Leavenworth dropped to 4-1.
“When you can beat a quality team, it really helps you when you get to the playoffs and they would say the same thing,” Ingram said. “Games like this really help you get better for postseason play.”
Freshman guard Terrion Moore led Leavenworth with 11 points and Emma Zeck, the Pioneers’ lone senior, joined her in double figures with 10.Leavenworth boys 49, Olathe South 42
The Falcons struggled to find an answer for sharp-shooting senior Cameron Wiggins who led the Pioneers to a 49-42 victory with five three-pointers and 24 points.
By the end of the first quarter, Leavenworth had a 19-13 lead with 11 points from Wiggins. Olathe South appeared to have temporarily solved the problem when it held Leavenworth to just three points in the second quarter with none from Wiggins to take a 26-22 lead into halftime. However, Leavenworth took a 32-31 lead into the third quarter and used a 13-2 run to put the game away.
Senior guard Noah Knight led all scorers with 28 points.