Girls breakthrough at SFT
It's turning into a season of firsts for the De Soto Wildcat girls basketball team. Fresh from taking first place at the Louisburg Invitational Girls Basketball Tournament, the Wildcats knocked off the Santa Fe Trail Chargers for the first time in recent years, setting themselves up for a possible first-place finish in the Kaw Valley League.
In the last two years, an improving De Soto team entered the contest against the Santa Fe team looking to knock off the Kaw Valley power. But the team always came up short.
Again in December, the Wildcats had high expectations. After all, they were at home and had probably their best team in recent history.
But again the Chargers turned back the Wildcats, and in the process took over sole possession of first place in the conference race.
De Soto, however, took its rightful place next to the Chargers atop the Kaw Valley standings with Tuesday's 39-34 win over the Chargers. If they win out, they at least tie for the crown.
"This is big for our program," said De Soto girls head coach Dwight Spencer during the bus ride home. "If we can win out, we have at least a share of the title. I don't know that that's ever been done here at De Soto."
Left on the conference slate for De Soto is Fridays game at Piper, Lansing, Perry-Lecompton, Bonner Springs, Immaculata and Basehor-Linwood. The Wildcats record now stands at 5-1 in the league.
Lisa Lambert was called on to perform at a high level both offensively and defensively.
The senior was forced to carry the offensive load, along with Kira Gonzalez, when leading scorers Allie Heinen and Amy Petty sat on the bench because of early foul trouble.
Lambert and Gonzalez answered with four points apiece in the opening eight minutes of play to keep the Wildcats within striking distance of Santa Fe Trail at 9-8.
"I didn't really think about it too much," Lambert said. "I was open so I took the shots, and they fell in."
Lambert also drew the defensive chores against the best offensive player in the league. The Wildcats, however, seem to have her number. Boss tallied just seven points against De Soto in the December matchup.
This time Boss led all scorers with 19 points, but she earned every single one of them.
"Lisa hounded her all over the place," Spencer said. "She didn't allow her the ball a lot, or to get good looks at the basket. I'm sure she had at least three steals against her."
Lambert was more impressed with Boss' quickness than anything else and knew she had to keep moving her feet if she wanted to help her team get the win.
"I knew I couldn't allow her to have the ball; to get too many looks at the basket," Lambert said. "I also had to stop her from shooting and penetrating. If she was going to get her points, she would have to do the job at the free-throw line."
After building a slim one-point lead during the opening period, De Soto saw the Chargers take a 22-10 lead at intermission.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to 28-24 going into the final frame and then out-scored Santa Fe Trail 15-6, earning the win.
De Soto's tipoff at Piper begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday.