Olathe — After going over the game film from a 57-40 loss to Olathe South a few weeks back, Free State High girls basketball coach Bryan Duncan was brutally honest in his evaluation.
“Frankly, we didn’t shoot worth a crap the entire game,” Duncan said, adding that FSHS led by three points late in the third quarter.
“A lot of that is their defense, but we didn’t play very well at all.”
What was once a negative now is a positive, as re-watching the game actually inspired confidence in Duncan and the Firebirds heading into tonight’s rematch with O-South — a 7:45 clash at Olathe North with a trip to the Class 6A state tournament on the line.
“It’s going to be an extremely tough test,” Duncan said of facing the defending state champs. “But we feel like we’re up for the challenge.”
The Falcons (20-1), led by do-it-all guard Natalie Knight, will be quite the test.
Knight, who tallied 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the state championship game last year as a junior, is a Kansas University women’s basketball commit whom Duncan considers one of the top players in the state.
Duncan said defending the high ball screen will be crucial against O-South, which also features talented Megan Balcom in the backcourt.
“The biggest thing is we can’t let them turn the corner (off the screens),” Duncan said.
“We actually feel like we can match up with them,” Duncan added, saying Kennedy Kirkpatrick likely would guard Knight, and Lynn Robinson would be paired with Balcom.
Winners of three straight, the Firebirds (11-10) looked loose as can be at Friday’s practice — apparently carefree heading into the biggest game of their season.
“We’re excited,” Duncan said. “We think this is a great opportunity.”