By RON PRESTON
CHAPMAN – It was a total team effort by the Abilene Cowgirls in their 57-32 victory over the Chapman Fighting Irish Tuesday in the final North Central Kansas League contest of the season.
The Cowgirls made some defensive adjustments following the first quarter and held the Irish in check the rest of the game.
“The story of the game was how we played defense in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters,” commented Cowgirl Coach Janelle Geist following the game.
Chapman held a four-point lead, 17-13, at the end of the first period.
Lindsey Hurford led the Lady Irish with 8 points in the quarter, including hitting a trey at the buzzer for the Irish lead.
The second quarter and the rest of the game belonged to the Cowgirls.
Abilene’s defensive pressure on the perimeter and getting good shots by passing the ball around told the story for the rest of the game.
The Cowgirl defense allowed the Irish only three points in the second quarter.
“We put pressure on them, especially on the perimeter and they made bad passes and turnovers,” added coach Geist.
The Cowgirls were led offensively by Belle Barbieri with 16 points and Nichole Taylor with 10.
Barbieri and Taylor scored most of their points off of inside shots.
They got assists from Carly Gassman, Gracie Sexton, Kurstin Guy and Kiley Crider.
“We got the ball inside offensively and we have some tall girls that can score this year. Our girls passed the ball around well and there were several assists to the inside,” coach Geist said.
The Cowgirls would take a 29-20 lead into half time.
Following the intermission, the Cowgirls continued with the hustling defensive play and good ball movement to increase the lead to 41-24 at the end of three quarters.
“The last three quarters they had 15 points total, so that shows a good defensive effort, so I am really proud of how the girls played defensively,” said coach Geist.
Guy scored 4 of her 9 points in the third quarter with a quick jumper to open the second half and later she took a Sexton assist to the bucket with 3:49 left to play in the third period and Cowgirls leading 35-24.
Following an Irish time out at the 3:49 mark, the Cowgirls held the Lady Irish scoreless and add eight points to their lead.
Barbieri used a Sexton assist for an inside shot followed by a Crider jumper and then Crider fed Barbieri for a bucket as the quarter ended.
The Cowgirls took that 41-24 advantage into the fourth quarter and again played good defense and held the Lady Irish to 8 points in the final eight minutes.
Coach Geist was able to use reserve players in the fourth quarter and sophomore Mikaela Anderes scored 5 points with a short jumper and a trey with 15 seconds left to play.
Jordan Woods scored 5 of the Irish 8 points in the final period with a jumper early in the quarter and a trey at the buzzer to end the game 57-32, Cowgirls.
“This win helps us a lot going into sub-state. Right now we have assured ourselves of a winning record and I think this is huge accomplishment for any team, to go out and get a winning record,” added coach Geist.
“Another huge thing is with the Buhler loss, we will host the first round of sub-state and that is a big advantage for us, playing on our home court in front of our fans and not having to travel,” concluded coach Geist.
The Cowgirls will host the first round of sub-state on Tuesday against a yet to be officially named opponent.
Abilene 57, Chapman 32
Abilene (11-9) 13 16 12 15-57
Chapman (3-17) 17 3 4 8 -32
Abilene: Geist 5, Guy 9, Sexton 5, Crider 7, Anderes 5, Barbieri 16, Taylor 10.
Chapman: Beemer 2, Elliott 1, Anderson 2, Woods 12, Langvardt 2, Hurford 10, Heiman 3.