Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
It might have just been a 12-minute scrimmage, but a win against a defending district champion with an all-state player will have a positive effect on a young Blair Oaks girls basketball team.
That’s the opinion offered by Lady Falcons coach Leroy Bernskoetter after his team’s 16-13 defeat of Fatima in Friday’s Jamboree at Helias.
“We played a lot of girls. They played a lot of girls, and it’s not even really two full quarters, but it’s good,” he said. “It at least gets their feet wet, and it breaks the ice a little bit for them. It was good, and for them it’s a good confidence booster. We’ve got a lot of young girls, and so it was good to see what would happen.”
The win capped off a night of 1-1-1 basketball for the Lady Falcons.
Blair Oaks began the night with a game against Jefferson City, which led most of the contest. The Lady Falcons were able to tie the game at the 1:49 mark for the first time since the opening tip. Veronoica Wiebold snagged an offensive rebound and was fouled, and her two free throws made it 11-all.
Blair Oaks pulled ahead with a jumper from Sarah Wolken with just over a minute to play, but the Lady Jays responded with a Megan Foster basket with 17 seconds to go to tie the game at 13.
“That game could’ve gone either way,” Bernskoetter said. “We had the lead, and we didn’t protect it, but that was all right.”
Next up, the Lady Falcons faced Helias. Blair Oaks jumped out to a 6-3 lead, but the Lady Crusaders went on a 10-0 run to take a seven-point lead into the break. Blair Oaks was able to cut the lead to 18-12, but two straight turnovers got in the way of a comeback, as the Lady Crusaders finished on top, 22-12.
“We turned the ball over, we got a little sloppy, and they made three shots,” Bernskoetter said. “That was the difference — six, seven points right there, and that’s how it stayed.”
The Lady Falcons played from behind once again in the Fatima contest, trailing by as many as six. But Macyn Wilbers, who came into the night without any varsity basketball experience, hit a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 11 with 1:59 to play.
The Blair Oaks defense forced an alternating possession, the seventh of eight in the game, and Carli Buschjost scored three the old-fashioned way to give the Lady Falcons their first lead of the game. Fatima responded two possessions later with a Annie Bock layup, but Buschjost sunk two free throws, which proved to be enough.
“A couple of them stepped up and made some good plays at the end, and that was the difference,” Bernskoetter said.