Saxony Lutheran girls basketball team falls to West County in district title game

Friday, March 2, 2012
Saxony Lutheran's Abby Hadler goes up for a shot against West County during the fourth quarter Thursday in Park Hills, Mo. Check out more photos from the game in our gallery at (Laura Simon)

PARK HILLS, Mo. -- The Saxony Lutheran girls basketball team picked a bad game to take a step back to the kind of basketball that allowed it to win just two of its first 14 games this season.

The Crusaders struggled against top-seed West County in the first half of the Class 3 District 3 championship game and eventually lost 53-28.

"We kind of reverted back to how we played the first half of the season where we turned the ball over a bunch," Saxony Lutheran coach Sam Sides said. "We just made a lot of bad decisions. They got in the passing lanes, and we just didn't execute like we should. They're a good, solid team. They're not going to let you get by with that."

Saxony Lutheran turned over the ball 10 times in the first quarter. It took just three shots from the floor and did not make any of them.

"They just had a lot of pressure on us," Saxony Lutheran junior Natalie Mueller said. "We were really nervous from the beginning. Girls had been talking in the locker room about how nervous we were, and it showed out there on the court."

West County scored just three points in the first 6 minutes, 47 seconds of the game, but it scored 23 points over the next 9:13 to take a 26-5 lead at halftime.

"Defensively we were fine," Sides said. "Once we got behind, I think our lack of offense hurt our defense. If we could've scored a little bit early, I think our defense would have maintained. I think we started worrying about that other end of the floor, and it affected the other end. You can't let that happen."

Saxony Lutheran, which made an unlikely run to the championship game as the No. 7 seed, does not have a senior on its roster.

"I thought we played real timid, and I was afraid that may happen with a young team," Sides said. "We come out a little shaken. If we could've made our first couple shots, I think we'd been fine, but we didn't. We struggled most of the year shooting the ball, so that really wasn't that unusual. But what bothered me though, was I thought we played scared."

The Crusaders broke out of their scoring slump and outscored West County, which still was playing its starters, 19-13 in the third quarter.

"I thought we got looser when we got behind," Sides said. "I just tried to tell them you've just got to play. The worst thing that's going to happen to you is you get beat. I've lost a lot of games. It's not that major a deal. You've just got to play."

Mueller said that the team was less nervous after halftime.

"We started making shots, and the third quarter that's when we really started making them," Mueller said. We really just wanted to win this game because the seventh seed doesn't usually play the first seed for a championship."

Mueller scored six points in the game for the Crusaders, who were led by Lauren Hecht's 15 points.

Saxony Lutheran finished the year 10-16.

"I'm really proud of my team because we worked really hard," Mueller said. "They're a team of seniors and we have no seniors, so next year we're going to come back and we're going to win districts."

West County9171213--53

SAXONY LUTHERAN (28) -- Abby Hadler 3, Kristy Winter 2, Lauren Hecht 15, Courtney Bergman 2, Natalie Mueller 6. FG 8, FT 8-18, F 15. (3-pointers: Hecht 3, Mueller 1. Fouled out: none)

WEST COUNTY (53) -- Katie Gettinger 18, Paige Forshee 7, Courtney Richards 7, Lauren Callahan 6, Sidney Wells 2, Jordan Mull 9, Tiffanie Jones 4. FG 22, FT 7-13, F 17. (3-pointers: Gettinger 1, Richards 1. Fouled out: none)

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: