BAXTER SPRINGS - The Lady Lions started their 2016-17 season off winning one and losing one. At home they defeated Joplin’s McAuley Catholic 57-31, then lost on the road to Girard 42-31.
Against McAuley, senior Riley Abernathy finished the game with 12 points. She scored eight points in the first quarter as the Lady Lions jumped out in front 16-5, and finished the half ahead 28-15.
The daughter of a Baxter Springs High School local basketball legend and all time leading scorer Kelly St. Clair Barnes, freshman Delaney Barnes started her BHS career with a team leading 19 points. She also grabbed seven rebounds, and had three blocked shots. Delaney just needs 2,184 more points to surpass her mother.
Another first year player, sophomore Kassity Shafer, started her career with 11 points, two block shots and four rebounds. Senior Kelsey Spence added six points and four boards. A point guard doesn’t normally have blocked shots, but senior Cheyenna Von Moss swatted away three, to go along with her five points.
In Girard it was a different story. The Lady Trojans were picked first in the CNC League pre-season coaches poll, and they showed why.
At the start with the Trojans’ 6’ 4” Ashley Ray, and Baxter Springs’ Abernathy and Barnes underneath, both defenses sunk low to prevent the big girls the ball. Both teams attempted to launch long shots, but to no avail. Abernathy came out front, drained a three, and the Lady Lions were down 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Baxter Springs played a slow controlled offense in the second quarter. It worked fairly well. After Von Moss’ 3-pointer at the end of the half, Baxter Springs was only down 16-13.
At the beginning of the second half Von Moss hit a three, Abernathy a three and Von Moss another three, as the Lady Lions took the lead 22-19. With 2:55 left in the third quarter, Girard made good on two free throws, then Sydee Crain took over. Crain hit a three and two two’s. From there the Lady Trojans never looked back. Girard’s defense limited Baxter Springs to two baskets and four free throws in the fourth. Crane had all of her 10 points in the second half. Calea Augustin led Girard with 17 points.
Abernathy finished with 10 points, including two treys, and seven rebounds. Barnes grabbed eight boards to go along with her eight points. Von Moss had her three 3-pointers for her nine points. Shafer pulled four rebounds, and Hailey Horn three.
For the boys it was two bitter losses to start things off. In the season opener, Baxter Springs’ sophomore Trey White got his first varsity start and made good on it finishing with 19 points, including four 3-pointers against the McAuley Catholic Warriors from Joplin. The visiting Warriors (4-0) pulled out the win 58-52.
The game was tied at 20 going into the third. McAuley took a 35-28 lead later in the quarter. The Lions’ Preston Landis made good on his plus-1 with 35 seconds left. The Lions closed the third down 37-34.
White started the fourth with two free throws. Junior Max Sheffer brought the game to a 38-38 tie. The Warriors then went up 44-38. With 5:25 left White dropped a three. McAuley scored to lead 46-41. White drove the lane for a 46-43 McAuley lead. Senior Kaid Karnes scored to put the Lions down 46-45.
Next came a questionable foul on the Lions’ Garrett Shafer. A technical was called on the Lion bench. With the old adage “the ball don’t lie” scenario both technical fouls were missed, however both of the foul free throws were made to put the Warriors up 48-45. Landis made a basket, and Mason Hartley scored, but McAuley was up 54-48. Karnes scored a the end for the final 56-52.
In their second game on Girard’s home court, the Lions went down 65-53 for the Trojans’ first win of the young season. With 13 in the previous game, the turnovers continued against Girard.
Girard took the first lead but Baxter Springs went on a five point run for a 5-5 tie, then led 11-5. Girard went on their own six point run with 3:03 left in the second quarter to take their first lead since their 5-0 start. With Shafer’s 12 first half points the Lions were down 27-24 at the half.
The Trojan’s defense seemed to frustrate the Lions guards as Girard finished the third quarter ahead 45-34, before pulling it away in the fourth.