Kinnett’s big rebound helps Central top Montrose
Central’s Stacy Kinnett is one of the Warriors’ better defenders and a solid scoring option, but will never be known as a strong rebounder.
Despite pulling down only two rebounds the entire game, Kinnett came up with an offensive rebound with less than a minute left Friday night that set up the Warriors’ winning basket and 40-36 victory over Montrose.
As for the Southwestern League championship, the title went to Montrose on the fifth tiebreaker, which is best overall winning percentage. Despite not officially winning the league,
Dixon said the Warriors feel like they have accomplished just that.
“(Montrose coach John) Mraule came up to me before the game and said if you beat us, don’t you dare not print shirts that say SWL champs,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “SWL champs is something we feel like we have done.”
Trailing 36-35, the Warriors’ Amy Kame missed the front end of a one-and-one and Kinnett stretched out her right arm and pulled down the rebound. She got the ball back to Kame, who drove, and while falling out of bounds with two defenders guarding her, sank a jump shot and was fouled in the process.
“We were standing at the free-throw line and Haleigh (Higgins) told me to go around behind the girl,” Kinnett said. “I did that and was able to get the ball to Amy.”
Kame hit the free throw to give the Warriors a 38-35 lead with 40 seconds left.
On the next Indians’ possession, Central forced Montrose into a backcourt violation. Kame hit two more free throws to seal the 40-36 victory.
“Our whole thing was don’t panic,” Dixon said. “The ball fell into our pocket and I am glad I went to church on Sunday.”
Central was able to come out on top in a game that was an intense defensive struggle from the opening tip-off.
The Warriors took a 7-6 lead after the first quarter. In the second, Montrose was able to get three 3-pointers to fall, including two from Kelsie Meisberger. Thanks to the deep shots, the Indians were able to outscore Central 17-11 in the quarter and take a 23-18 lead into halftime.
“It was only five points we were down at halftime, but it felt so big because there weren’t that many points on the board,” Dixon said. “I thought they did a great job in the second half of being patient and knowing we didn’t have to hurry and score five points in the first minute.”
The Warriors tightened up defensively in the third, holding Montrose to two points.
Rachel Hansen hit two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, but nine points from Kame help the Warriors come out on top.
“The adjustments we made from the first game to this game were apparent,” Dixon said. “For us to have this experience against that strong of a team is a good opportunity to end the regular season.”
Kame led the way for the Warriors, scoring a game-high 18 points. Kinnett and Karen Hayter both added six in the low-scoring affair. Montrose was led by post player Hanna Bowden, who scored 14.
Both teams will find out Sunday where they will land in the postseason.