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Archive for Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Title test awaits Firebirds

FSHS girls to face Junction City for Bonner crown

December 14, 2005

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Bryan Duncan had other plans, but he isn't complaining.

Duncan is Free State High's girls basketball coach, and the Firebirds will be meeting Junction City tonight for the championship of the Bonner Springs Metro Classic.

Tipoff will be 6:30 p.m. at the YMCA building located next to Bonner Springs High.

"It's a major problem for me," Duncan said of the title game's timing, "but I'm sure we can work it out."

Duncan is taking a graduate course at Baker University, and his final exam is scheduled for tonight. A week ago, that posed no problem. But then Thursday's heavy snowfall forced Bonner Springs High to reschedule the last day of the three-day tourney.

Duncan's players could make the rescheduling of his final exam less of a hassle if they could knock off the Bluejays tonight. They came close last year.

Junction City nipped the Firebirds, 46-44, for the 2004 Metro Classic championship.

"They've lost a couple of players, but they are a very talented team," Duncan said of the Bluejays.

Free State advanced to tonight's title clash by pounding Atchison, 65-23, in Friday's opening round, then disposing of Topeka Seaman, 50-38, in Saturday's semifinals.

Those victories were a far cry from the Firebirds' season-opening 38-33 loss to Washburn Rural. Free State missed all but one shot in the second half and blew a halftime lead against the Junior Blues.

"I think we've really grown up a lot as a team since then," Duncan said.

Juniors Jenna Brantley and Lauren Kimball have provided most of the punch in the Bonner Springs tourney. The 5-foot-11 Brantley had 10 points against Atchison and 18 versus Seaman. Kimball, a 5-8 guard, scored 14 in the opener and 13 in the semifinal.

Free State will travel Friday night to Olathe South.

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