Monday's showdown between the top two ranked girls teams in Class 3A made for a nearly-full house at the Adair Event Center, but it didn't bring the drama of years past.
If the Kansas Lady Comets' 43-37 win over the Adair Lady Warriors made anything clear, it's that the Lady Comets are the better team this season.
The game wasn't nearly as close as the final score would indicate. The Lady Warriors managed to sink a couple of three-pointers near the end of the contest that, along with 2-of-8 free shooting by Kansas in the fourth period, combined to shrink a 13-point lead to as little as five in the final minute.
But the Lady Comets used their superiority at all positions to secure control of the game almost from the beginning. Ty Sizer and Heather Marshall combined to dominate the paint against a small Adair squad, while the senior guard duo of Kelsey Barnwell and Courtney Cowan controlled everything else.
The scary part for the rest of 3A is that the Lady Comets could have played better. Cowan, a signee with Northeastern State, only scored eight points while Marshall, although effective defensively and on the boards, didn't score at all. Sizer's nine points off the bench helped provide an offensive lift for the Lady Comets in the interior. The Lady Comets committed too many turnovers and missed too many free throws for anyone to be jumping for joy.
Of course, it helps when you have the best player on the floor on just about any given night, and Barnwell lived up to that billing Monday night. The University of Missouri-Kansas City signee, who will match up with 2009 Adair graduate and current ORU star Kevi Luper in the Summit League next year, clearly relished Monday's show and her role in it, scoring 23 points in a variety of ways while managing to be involved in nearly everything that happened in the game.
How good the Lady Comets can be remains to be seen, although we'll have a lot more answers after next week's Tournament of Champions in Tulsa. Kansas will take on Tulsa Washington, one of the top teams in Class 6A, Wednesday's first round at 4 p.m.
What is clear after Monday's game is that the Lady Comets are on a mission after last year's loss in the state championship game to Bethel and they have the tools to get the job done.