It is now time for the girls from Kit Carson to defend their 2018 1A basketball title as they took care of business in Saturday’s Region 3 Tournament and punched their ticket to the big show in Greeley at the University of Northern Colorado campus this coming weekend. They enter the tournament as the top seed and will have to continue to play solid team basketball in order to defend last year’s title and win the school’s first-ever Back-to-Back state championships.
The Cats defeated South Baca, 52-22, in the Region 3 championship. According to head coach Sara Crawford, “South Baca is a well-coached, scrappy team who has quite a bit of range. They are full of energy and pushed our team to be on top of our game.”
The Lady Cats received an invitation on Saturday night as they out two-stepped the South Baca Patriots, shuffling through a hot shooting team, who had a game plan of slowing the Wildcat momentum. The plan worked for a while until the Cats spun their way around the court helping carry them to the next level.
The tactic worked for the first quarter as the undefeated Wildcats found themselves in a battle leading by a slim, two-point margin at the end of the first eight minutes. However, with about 5:00 minutes left in the second period the Cats picked up their defense and the South Baca girls would suffer a long hiatus of scoring until sophomore Breanna Ormiston scored with 5:00 minutes left in the final quarter of the game.
Crawford explained, “Our coaching staff has discussed how we thought our team would react to having to come back from behind or just having a close game. When the score was so tight in the first quarter Saturday, it was a relief that there wasn’t any panic. They kept their composure and came out with more determination in the second quarter. The second half was all about tweaking issues from the first half and finishing strong! It was definitely a fun game!”
Tough defense from the undefeated Wildcat team was too much for South Baca, as the Patriots were held to single digit scoring in every quarter. Tess Hornung blocked 4 shots, while her partner in crime, Olivia Isenbart, denied 3 more shots. Unable to handle the protection inside, the Patriots relied on the outside game to keep them alive. While the Patriots shot 39 threes, the Cats were forced to guard the outside everywhere, especially in the beginning when their guns were blazing hot. Finally, the heat wore off, and the Wildcat pressure put a plug on the Patriot momentum. Haley Johnson protected the outside as she stripped away 3 steals and Micayla Isenbart snagged 2 more. T. Hornung led the pact with 16 total points and 5 rebounds, while the sister 6’0 duo of M. Isenbart and O. Isenbart contributed 11 points each and grabbed 9 boards a piece. With a final score of 52-22, the Kit Carson Wildcats held the state qualifier trophy high, knowing that they were alive for one more weekend.
South Baca will be back next year as the team has only one junior and is filled with freshmen and sophomores.
The Big Dance starts Thursday in Greeley at the University of Northern Colorado. The Lady Wildcats will face Belleview Christian at 11:45 and they hope that everyone will join them.
The Kit Carson Lady Wildcats with their 1A Region 3 State Qualifier Trophy. Kneeling, l-r: Alison Gekeler (5), Micayla Isenbart (22), Paige Johnson (4), Tieler Randel (2). Standing, l-r: Faith Johnson, Cally Booker-Rady, Reyna Isenbart (23), Tess Hornung (15), Olivia Isenbart (33), McKenzie Smith (11), Haley Johnson (3), Mercede Smith (10), Jordyn Weeks (13), JaNae Voss. (Photo Credit – Bob Schecter)