Natalie Denzer isn’t surprised her St. Pius X team is headed to Columbia for the Missouri Class 3 girls state, but she didn’t think it would come this easily.
Denzer and the Warriors cruised to an easy 58-27 quarterfinal win over Boonville on Saturday at Lee’s Summit.
St. Pius X went on a 27-2 first-half run, and the game’s outcome was largely settled before halftime.
“This result is because we prepared for it so much,” said Denzer, who paced St. Piux X with 19 points.
“We knew this wasn’t a team we could just come and play lazy, we had to come to play. I didn’t think we’d beat them by that much, but it doesn’t surprise me because we’re a team that really comes together, and when we have a goal we are determined to meet it.”
The Warriors trailed 8-6 when they started the run. It was a run fueled by forced turnovers that led to transition layups.
In the few cases where Boonville actually attempted a shot after the opening 2 minutes, St. Pius X center Abigail Hipp corralled the rebound and fired a baseball-style pass down the court to a teammate on the run for an uncontested bucket.
“I like making those passes,” said Hipp, who finished with 13 points. “We try to do those whenever we can, and it was definitely open today. I think that’s where we’re our best is when we’re getting out and running.”
The Warriors led 37-14 at halftime, and their lead grew to as high as 33 in the fourth quarter, bringing a running clock into play, something rarely seen this deep in the postseason.
“The film we watched, we knew we could run on them,” St. Pius X coach Bob Fenzel said. “And if we could get by their 1-2-2 trap, I knew we could get easy buckets.”
The Warriors can now check off their list a goal set in mid-November.
“Our whole season’s been about making it to state, and now we’re finally here,” Hipp said.