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913 area girls hoops notebook: Bishop Miege passes big test

Bishop Miege guard Hunter Bentley managed to come up with a loose ball in a battle with Claire Ferguson of St. Thomas Aquinas in their game on Friday night.
Bishop Miege guard Hunter Bentley managed to come up with a loose ball in a battle with Claire Ferguson of St. Thomas Aquinas in their game on Friday night. Special to The Star

Bishop Miege passed one of its biggest tests of the season with flying colors on Friday night when the Stags defeated rival St. Thomas Aquinas, 45-37.

The two teams fought through four lead changes before the Stags put together a 16-4 fourth-quarter run. They hit 13 of 19 free throws during that stretch and held Aquinas without a field goal.

“Both teams, these kids have been around a long time and have a lot of composure,” Stags coach Terry English said. “We just hit some shots there at the end we needed.”

Now the question becomes, who can stop the Stags?

With the victory, Miege improved to 8-0 as they chase their second straight Kansas Class 4A Division I championship. They lost just one senior from last year’s squad. They also handed Aquinas its first loss, which puts the Stags firmly at the top of the Eastern Kansas League.

Ravens coach optimistic

This year’s Olathe Northwest High School girls basketball team has coach Joel Branstrom going against his usual style.

The Ravens are relying more on perimeter shooting, which led to a new state record with 15 three-pointers against Truman. They also are playing more in transition, but Branstrom said they are adjusting well.

“The girls are enjoying the way we’re playing,” Branstrom said. “They’re getting there early and getting some shots up and sticking around later, which is good. There are a lot of positive things going on and the girls are buying in.”

The Ravens rely on a consistent rotation of 10 or 12 girls, who sub in every other minute. Shaleia Jamison leads the team with 15.7 points per game, which ranks third in the Sunflower League.

The Ravens started the season 3-0 in league play and will try to bounce back from their first loss, which came against Lawrence Free State on Friday. They are 4-5 on the season.

“All I’m looking for is improvement,” Branstrom said. “We’re looking to celebrate effort over achievement right now and I believe that if we can execute with good effort, then achievement will come.”

League races heating up

With seven weeks of the basketball season complete, there is just one team in the Sunflower League and one team in the Eastern Kansas League with blemish-free conference records.

In the Sunflower League, it is Olathe South. The Falcons lost reigning player of the year Kylee Kopatich to a knee injury. But that hasn’t slowed them down. They are 4-0 in league play and 8-1 overall, with a loss to Rock Bridge.

Behind them in the Sunflower League race are six teams with only one loss, including Kansas Class 5A defending champion Leavenworth. The Pioneers beat Rock Bridge, but fell to Shawnee Mission Northwest. Olathe South handed SM Northwest its only loss.

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