Friday night’s rivalry game between the Bishop Miege and St. Thomas Aquinas girls basketball teams had the feel of a championship. Given the way the season is going so far, it very well may be.
The two Eastern Kansas League leaders entered with perfect records, but it was the Stags who pulled away for a 45-37 victory in front of a packed house at Bishop Miege. They improved to 8-0 with the victory and handed the Saints, 9-1, their first loss.
“We out-hustled them in the fourth quarter and got some easy shots,” Stags coach Terry English said. “They were in trouble and we were in trouble, but we just really played better down the stretch.”
The Stags made each of their first three baskets and jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but by the end of the quarter the Saints had fought back to a one-point deficit. Aquinas continued the run into the second quarter and built up an eight-point lead but clung to a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Stags finished the game on a 16-4 run, which included a 14-for-20 performance from the line.
Bishop Miege, which lost just one player from last season’s Kansas Class 4A Division I championship squad, utilized a balanced attack led by Madeline Homoly. She finished with 15 points and, Shelbe Piggie added 12 and Tristen McFeders joined them in double figures with 10.
Claire Ferguson led the Saints with 10 points.
“You can tell by the crowd that this is a big game,” English said. “They are a great team and they have beaten us many times, so this is a good win for our kids. Now we know we can beat them.”
Bishop Miege boys 52, St. Thomas Aquinas 45
As soon as the handshakes were finished, the Bishop Miege boys basketball team rushed to the sideline to share a moment with their fans.
They swayed and sang and celebrated a 52-45 victory which completed a rivalry sweep against St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday night at Bishop Miege.
“These kids live and die for this,” Stags coach Rick Zych said. “When our kids are dancing, you can tell it’s a big rivalry.”
The Stags faced one tie at the beginning of the fourth quarter but never trailed. They hit six straight free throws to seal the game.
Adam Kutney scored a game-high 19 points for the Saints, and James Pyle joined him in double figures with 16.
Alston Jones led the Stags with 18 points. and Jacob Meurer added 11 as they improved to 7-0.
“We are playing with some confidence,” Zych said. “Our big guys are playing well, and our perimeters are pretty good.”