SWEET SPRINGS — Sacred Heart’s poor shooting in the first half left the Gremlins in a hole they could not entirely dig out of, losing to Crest Ridge 43-35 in the Class 2, District 14 semifinal on Monday at Sweet Springs.
The seventh-seeded Gremlins shot 4 for 24 in the first half as the third-ranked Cougars pulled out to a 22-10 lead.
“We just couldn’t buy a shot,” said Sacred Heart coach Shawn Bestgen. “We missed way too many free throws when we were way behind. We really just missed our opportunity.”
Sacred Heart shot 8 of 20 from the free-throw line.
The Gremlins rallied in the second half, hitting 6 of 13 from the field in the third quarter and three quick baskets early in the fourth.
Trailing at one point in the third quarter by 15 (29-14), the Gremlins shut down the Crest Ridge offense, holding the Cougars to eight points on their next 19 possessions and causing nine turnovers, including two steals by Claudia Cox and one each by Kayla Holland and Kaitlyn Sunnarborg.
“The intensity on defense helped a lot more,” Bestgen said. “We got called for some fouls early on and got us in foul trouble and really took away some of our intensity on defense. We were able to come back in the second half and pick that up.”
But Sacred Heart missed its last six shots from the field and Crest Ridge made enough free throws to put the game away.
Sydney Smith scored 19 points for Sacred Heart, seven in the fourth quarter.
“She was starting to take the ball more to the hoop,” Bestgen said. “She was not just settling for the jump shot. She missed a couple of chippies in the first half but relaxed a little bit in the second half.”
Gabbi Ebers finished with 10 points.
The Gremlins trailed 6-2 early before a layup by Smith and a drive by Ebers cut the lead to 8-7 after one quarter.
Sacred Heart tied the game on a free throw early in the second, but Crest Ridge scored the next eight points as the Gremlins missed seven shots in a row.
The lead was 29-14 midway through the third before a pair of baskets by Ebers and a jumper by Smith cut the lead to 31-20. Sacred Heart opened the fourth quarter on a 10-1 run to make it 37-32, but came no closer.
Sacred Heart finishes the season 12-14.