FREE STATE (45)
Adriana Jadlow 3-4 0-0 6, Hannah Walter 0-0 0-0 0, Scout Wiebe 5-10 1-2 13, Madison Piper 4-13 5-5 14, Millie Shade 3-6 0-0 6, Maren Kahler 2-3 0-0 6, Hannah Shoemaker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-36 6-7 45.
OLATHE SOUTH (55)
Kala Holder 1-1 0-0 3, Zoe Matje 1-2 0-0 2, Deja Nae Roebuck 1-3 1-2 3, Kylee Kopatich 7-14 5-6 19, Samantha Samskey 5-6 2-2 12, Bailey Rinehart 4-12 2-4 10, Jordan Morton 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 22-45 10-14 55
FSHS 15 7 17 6 — 45
O-South 18 13 11 13 — 55
Three-point goals: Free State 5-10 (Wiebe 2-3, Kahler 2-2, Piper 1-2, Shade 0-3); Olathe South 1-8 (Holder 1-1, Kopatich 0-5, Roebuck 0-1, Rinehart 0-1). Turnovers: Free State 10, Olathe South 7.
Olathe Free State High’s girls basketball team made a serious run at perennial Class 6A powerhouse Olathe South on Friday night.
Buoyed by a 17-7 surge, FSHS trailed by just one in the third and by three heading into the fourth.
These longtime rivals seemed destined for another Sunflower League clash that would go down to the final minute of play. But Olathe South had other ideas. The Falcons, who have advanced to the state tournament in each of the previous nine seasons, stood firm in the fourth quarter to register a 55-45 victory over the Firebirds.
Olathe South, which improved to 14-1, was led by Kylee Kopatich, a 5-foot-10 junior who scored a game-high 19 points, one of three players scoring in double-figures for South. Samantha Samsky added 12 points and Bailey Rinehart 10.
Free State (7-9) was led by Madison Piper, a 5-10 freshman, with 14 points, and Scout Wiebe, a 5-8 senior, finished with 13.
“Madison had a great second half and actually allowed Scout to start driving and creating some things as well,” Free State coach Bryan Duncan said. “(Madison) was guarding and being guarded by the best player in the league (Kopatich), and Madison is one of the best players in the league herself.”
During the Firebirds’ third-quarter run, Wiebe drained a pair of three-pointers, and Maren Kahler nailed her second three of the night to help Free State get back into contention. Wiebe also had a free throw during the sizz, Millie Shade scored off a drive, and then Piper scored off a putback and also converted a three-point play, closing the gap to 40-39.
But Rinehart scored on the block on the other end at the 1:20 mark for South’s three-point lead.
“What we talked about at halftime was that we just had to relax and play,” Duncan said, “and that’s what happened.
“I think we made the run that we needed to, but we weren’t able to get that last basket to get over the hump and take the lead.”
In the fourth quarter, South was able to build on its small lead and held on down the stretch.
Free State’s third-quarter outburst materialized after it managed just seven points in the second quarter. Olathe South led 31-22 at halftime.
At the 4:29 mark in the second period, Piper, coming off a 29-point explosion on Tuesday night at Shawnee Mission North, buried a three-pointer from the left wing to pull Free State within 22-18.
But Olathe South built momentum going into halftime, speeding up the tempo and uncorking a half-ending 9-4 surge to build on its lead.
“In the first half, we were a little shell-shocked,” Duncan. “Their pressure hurt us, and we didn’t handle it very well.
“We played good enough in the first half to hang around.”