By RON PRESTON
The Abilene Cowgirls basketball team won a close non-league contest over the defending 3A Champion Silver Lake Lady Eagles 46-38, Tuesday.
“This was a good team win, a much needed win, over a traditionally rich talented team,” said Cowgirl Coach Janelle Geist following the game.
Freshman Belle Barbieri led all scorers with 18 for the Cowgirls.
The contest was close the entire game with the Cowgirls jumping out to a 6-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
Barbieri had an offensive rebound and put back basket and Nichole Taylor put in a layup with an assist from Gracie Sexton to get the 4-point lead early.
Barbieri would score 8 points in the first quarter and Taylor would put in 4 to give the Cowgirls a 15-9 lead at the end of one.
The second quarter would see both teams trading baskets throughout the quarter with both teams scoring 9 points and the Cowgirls maintaining a 24-18 half time lead.
After the intermission, Silver Lake would apply half court and sometimes full court pressure on the Cowgirl offense.
“They pressured us the whole game and we handled it with composure for most of the game,” said coach Geist.
The Cowgirls would lead by three at the end of the third quarter 28-25.
During the fourth quarter, the Eagles would keep chipping away at the lead and eventually take a 31-30 lead at the 5:57 mark in the game.
Barbieri scored the next points for the Cowgirls to regain the lead 39-35 with 3:17 left in the game.
Barbieri, with an assist from Taylor, hit her first basket of the quarter to move the score 35-32, Silver Lake.
The next offensive play saw Barbieri grab an offensive rebound and put back basket to make the score 35-34, Silver lake.
Abilene would again get the ball at the 5:01 mark and Barbieri scored a traditional three-point play with an offensive rebound and foul shot to put the Cowgirls in the lead 37-35.
Courtney Geist would dish off to Barbieri at the 3:17 mark for a 2-point basket and the 39-35 Cowgirl lead.
Sexton would hit a jumper from the left of the key and Barbieri would get a steal at the 2:10 mark and Abilene would call a time out with 1:36 left to play in the game leading 41-35.
Kiley Crider would score a traditional three-point play with under a minute to play and 44-38 Cowgirl lead.
Silver Lake would foul Taylor with 32.8 seconds left and she stepped to the line and made both free throws to end the scoring at 46-38, Cowgirls.
“Nichole just did a fabulous job defending against Silver Lake’s shooter Mackenzie Freeman,” said coach Geist.
Freeman led Silver Lake with 12 points but didn’t score in the fourth quarter.
“It was an overall team effort, a great team win for us,” concluded coach Geist.
Friday the 10-6 Cowgirls travel to Wamego to face the North Central Kansas League leading Red Raiders.
Abilene 46, Silver Lake 38
Silver Lake 9 9 7 13 - 38
Abilene 15 9 4 18 - 46
Silver Lake: Freeman 12, White 1, Wagner 3, Lane 10, Campbell 4, Kirkwood 2, Bledsoe 6.
Abilene: Guy 4, Sexton 3, Crider 8, Barbieri 18, Taylor 13.