Bishop Miege junior Francesco Badocchi crashed to the court midway through the first quarter of Friday’s Kansas 4A, Division I semifinal at the Bicentennial Center.
“He already had a meniscus issue, and it just popped,” Miege coach Rick Zych said. “He was already getting surgery next week. They’ll probably move it up. That’s a big blow for us. A lot of teams could have folded the tent…. He’s our our best offensive post player.”
But Miege overcame Badocchi’s absence and beat Paola 62-56 to advance to Saturday’s title game.
“It’s really amazing,” said Miege junior Semaj Ray, who had 15 points. “Last year we took third, and I really didn’t want to take third again. I’m really proud of my team.”
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 19 points, most inside, and he had a team-high eight rebounds. Joe Gleason added seven rebounds and seven points.
Paola raced to a 16-6 lead, a run that was capped by Justin Criddle’s three-pointer. Criddle finished with 17 points, while Alex Wilson had 14.
But Miege’s 6-foot-11 sophomore Bol Bol took advantage of a severe mismatch with Paola’s 6-1 Kyle Wokutch by scoring inside. Bol’s basket started a 27-4 run that put Miege up 33-20 midway through the second quarter.
Paola responded and was within 55-52 when Criddle hit three free throws with a minute to go, bu it didn’t get closer than three points.
“We just didn’t play very well down the stretch,” Paola coach Dave Cash said. “Missed some shots. Set up for some shots we probably shouldn’t have…. We battled and our kids competed as well as they could. That’s all I can ask.”