LHS falls in sectional contest

Alex Boyer

SEDALIA — The 2016-17 season came to an end for the Lebanon girls' basketball team on Wednesday as the Lady 'Jackets fell to Columbia Rock Bridge, 61-43.
Despite the loss, the 'Jackets end the season with numerous highlights, including winning the schools first district championship in 13 years, tying the school record for wins (23) as well as producing a pair of players who are on their way to college basketball careers (Kelsey Winfrey, Missouri and Jaiden Offutt, Ottawa).
But on Wednesday, things were largely all Rock Bridge. The Bruins built an early lead thanks to the hot shooting of freshman Katey Klucking who scored 12 points in the first frame and helped her team open a 16-4 early lead.
Lebanon (23-6) fought back and pulled within eight points (16-8) at the end of the frame. The Bruins had LHS doubled up throughout most of the second quarter before sophomore Cori Johnson converted a three-point play for the 'Jackets to pull LHS within 28-17.
But at the other end Rock Bridge capped the first half with a 3 by Elle Brown shortly before the buzzer sounded and the Bruins went to the break leading 31-17. LHS got as close as 13 in the third quarter before Rock Bridge ended the frame with a 6-0 run to take a 47-24 lead to the fourth quarter.
Wednesday was the final game for Lebanon seniors Kelsey Winfrey, Jaiden Offutt, Maddie O'Connor and Faith Alwardt. Alwardt, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, finished with 6 including her first made 3-pointer of the season in the fourth quarter.
Offutt, a 5-foot-9 guard, finished with 10 points while O'Connor added two points.
Winfrey got a chance to face future teammate Elle Brown on Wednesday with Mizzou head coach Robin Pingston on hand to watch the contest in Sedalia. Brown is the daughter of Mizzou assistant AD Brian Brown and track and field assistant coach Natasha Brown who was a two-time US Olympian.
Winfrey finished her high school career with 12 points in her final game. She scored more than 2,000 career points and was an all-state selection last year.
"I am very, very proud of the job that those four seniors have done," Lebanon head coach Brendan Kelley said. "In four years they have taken a four year program and turned it into a 23-win program. This is nothing to be ashamed of at all. In my opinion Rock Bridge is one of the best programs in the state. It will be a nice thing to see what they can do down the road."
Rock Bridge, who handed LHS a 70-36 defeat in the third-place fame of the Pink and White in late December, has put together quite a history in girls' basketball in recent years, winning five district titles in six years and winning three straight championship from 2012-13 through 2014-15. They feature two NCAA Division I signees as in addition to Brown, 6-foot-4 post Madison Treece will play at Duke.
Lebanon largely held those two in check as Treece finished with 10 and Brown added 13.
But it was Klucking who did much of the damage at the offensive end for the Bruins, finishing with 30 points, including 22 in the first half.
"We knew she could shoot the ball as she hit some against us the first time," Kelley said. "The big thing that we talked about in practice was running her off the line and forcing her to put the ball on the floor instead of just standing at the line and shooting and we didn't do a very good job of that.
"They had good ball rotation and we just lost her throughout the course of their offense. They were patient and they could drag those possessions out if they wanted to … it's hard to get a win if you can't shut a kid down when they get hot like that. We experienced that the very first game of the season when Abby Oliver got away from us."
For the complete article, see the Friday print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.


The Lebanon Daily Record

100 E. Commercial St.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-9131