The difficulty of finding the motivation to play in a third-place game is echoed by coaches and players alike, but after its loss in the Kansas Class 6A girls semifinals Friday, Olathe East offered a list of reasons why it was the exception.
The opportunity to match the best finish in school history. A game against a rival. A chance for payback.
With one victory, Olathe East accomplished all three on Saturday.
The Hawks defeated rival Olathe South 56-44 to win the Kansas Class 6A third-place game at Charles Koch Arena. Sydney Wilson led the charge with 21 points, helping to avenge a loss last month.
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“We wrote goals on the board at the beginning of the year, and one of our goals was to beat Olathe South,” said Emily Jasnoski, the lone senior on the team. “Coming out here and beating them and ending the season on a win was just big motivation for us.”
In its meeting with Olathe South last month, Olathe East managed only 29 points. It reached that number by halftime Saturday, with Wilson scoring 15 before the break. Olathe East, 19-6, matched its best state-tournament placing in program history.
Kacey Kennett scored 17 points for Olathe South, which finished 21-3.