In the first 4 minutes, North Kansas City junior point guard Kianna Lane had two three-point plays. It gave the Hornets a nine-point cushion, which the Staley girls basketball team never completely overcame.
The Falcons came close, pulling to within one with 37 seconds remaining, but two free throws by Lane 6 seconds later helped seal North Kansas City’s 47-42 victory on Monday afternoon in the third annual Price Chopper Basketball Classic at the Sprint Center.
“I felt a lot of pressure,” Lane said. “Just going through my mind, I need to focus and hit these free throws so we could get a little bit of a lead so we could slow down and get the game under control.”
Despite leading from start to finish, North Kansas City needed to make free throws in the finals 30 seconds. Junior Selana Salas put the game away with 2.3 seconds left with two free throws.
The final 3 minutes were thrilling, especially when Staley senior Maddie Ferrara made two free throws with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left, slicing North Kansas City’s lead to 42-38.
“If they were down 14, they would have done the same thing to us,” Staley senior Kinsey Kiser said. “We want to win just as badly as they want to win. We are going to try like crazy all through the game.”
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, the Falcons appeared finished. Lane started the final quarter with a basket and Shelby Jordan followed with another field goal, giving North Kansas City a 42-26 lead.
“We got down 16 points and I thought these kids could quit, but they never did and they kept coming back and we brought it back to within one,” Staley coach Sherry Butts said. “Man, we are fighters.”
Staley got a little closer at 43-40 when freshman Lindsey Gilbert made a layup with around a minute left. And then Staley sophomore Jen Harvey made it a one-point game at 43-42 when she hit two free throws with 37 seconds remaining. Harvey led Staley with a game-high 24 points.
“We were thinking just get it back one basket at a time and don’t worry about getting all those points,” Harvey said.
Looking back to the first quarter, the nine-point lead North Kansas City had to start the game was significant.
“It set the tone,” North Kansas City coach Jeff Lacy said. “It gave us the opportunity to release the nerves a little bit. She (Lane) has played in this game a few times. It released the nerves for the rest of us and to understand it is still basketball even though it was on a bigger stage.”