David Reeder

It took a half a dozen lead changes, a half a dozen ties and an extra session for the Lady’s Championship to be determined Saturday night at Afton’s 21st Annual Coca Cola Classic. And when the dust had settled, the Kansas Lady Comets picked up their third title in as many years by knocking off Afton in overtime, 66-64.

In the boy’s championship, Colcord maintained a slim margin for most of the game, only to have it slip away in the 4th quarter, suffering a 3-point loss to Broken Arrow’s Summit Christian Academy.

Despite the fact that they forced Afton to commit seven opening quarter turnovers, the Lady Comets had some difficulty getting the basket to go through the hoop. At one point, the Kansas girls came up empty on nine consecutive attempts. Kortni Kendrick put in a trio of baskets for six of her game high 25 points to lead the 4 of 19, .211 floor shooting effort.

Afton, on the other hand, shot 6 of 9 from the floor, putting their guest behind at the end of a quarter, 12-9, for the first time this season.

In the subsequent segment, the Lady Eagles continued to burn up the net, shooting 6 of 10 from the floor and scoring 15 points. Although the Lady Comets continued to win the battle of the boards convincingly, the Kansas offense continued to founder. That was until junior Brittany Lamont stroked a pair of 3-pointers from the corner to put a charge into the Lady Comets who trailed by a bucket at the break, 27-25.

The start of the second half saw the Lady Comets defense step up by forcing six Afton turnovers to set the table for the Comet offense. Led by 6 more from Kendrick and another 3-point spark from Lamont, the Kansas ladies rolled to 17 third quarter points, while holding their hosts to a dozen. The fourth began with Kansas clinging to a 42-39 edge and 5th ranked Afton simply refused to go away. With six each from co-team high scorers, Macy Gibson and Ashley Carroll, the Lady Eagles posted 17 fourth quarter tallies. Kansas got six each from Kelsey Barnwell and Kendrick, but missed some crucial free throws down the stretch, forcing a 56-56 tie at the end of regulation.

In the extra session the Kansas defense performed with élan by pressuring the Afton offense to turn the ball over three times and forcing them to have to foul. And Barnwell made them pay by shooting 6 of 6 from the charity stripe. Gibson and Carroll both scored with treys. But another field goal was all that the Lady Eagles could muster, giving Kansas the championship, 66-64.

In the boys’ contest, Summit Christian took advantage of some cold Colcord shooting. And while the Hornets could manage only 6 points of their own they were able to limit the Eagles to 8 of their own to set up the contentious 2nd. And in the ensuing stanza, Colcord’s Chris Van Dyke added a field goal to go with 5 of 5 free throws and a blocked shot. Canaan Sherrell, also with a blocked shot, chipped in a deuce and a trey, for 5 of his team high 16 points, gave the Hornets a slim 20-19 halftime edge.

Following the break, Colcord appeared to have a hot hand by knocking down their first 3 attempts of the half. But some late period shooting problems in tandem with some deficient offensive rebounding kept the Hornets from putting too much distance between them and their foe. While holding Summit to 3 of 11 from the field and 9 points, Colcord failed to connect on their final 6 tries of the period and could score only 11. Sophomore gunner, Joe Morris went hard to the floor in the 3rd and would not return in the game. Fellow sophomore, Canaan Sherrell took control of the Hornet’s 4th quarter offense and scored 9 to go with 4 by Kenzie Witt. But 8 Colcord turnovers forced them to play more aggressively putting, the Eagles on the foul line. Nailing 10 of 14 free throws to go with a pair of 3-pointers and 2 baskets, Summit played enough defense to overtake the Hornets and to hold them off for a 47-44 championship win.

In the girls’ bracket Kansas’s Kortni Kendrick shared tournament MVP honors with Afton’s Macy Gibson, while Colcord’s Joe Morris brought home the MVP plaque from the boys’ bracket.