For the first time since 2015, the St. Francis Borgia Regional basketball Lady Knights have claimed a district championship.
Borgia (12-14) powered past Hannibal (13-13) Friday night in Hannibal’s Korf Gymnasium, 60-37, to win the Class 4 District 8 title.
“It feels good,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan said. “It feels like it’s been a decade since we’ve been in a district championship game, let alone win one, so it’s good to be back.”
It was Borgia’s 15th district title.
“It feels great,” Borgia senior Grace Gettemeier said. “I’ve been working four years for this. It feels great to finally get this. It was a change in atmosphere and teams this year, but it was a good change and it feels great.”
Sophomore forward Avery Lackey was thrilled to win her first district title.
“It feels great,” Lackey said. “I’m so happy we get to keep playing with this team longer and keep moving on.”
Borgia, the top seed, turned up the offensive pressure in the second quarter. With the game tied 8-8 through eight minutes, Borgia controlled play in the second quarter to lead 27-12 at the half. From there, the Lady Knights never looked back.
Borgia led 48-28 through three quarters and sealed it up in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Lady Knights looked to two players to do the bulk of the scoring.
Gettemeier scored 21 points to lead all scorers. She did most of her damage in the second and third quarters, netting 18 of her 21 points during that time.
Gettemeier also led Borgia’s outside shooting attack, which registered eight threes for the game.
“Man-to-man has been tough for Grace to see open looks, but tonight she was determined to make sure we won this championship,” Houlihan said. “She had some of the most open looks she’s had for a long time. You give her that much time and she’s going to find a way to score.”
But it wasn’t just all threes.
“Coach is always telling me I need drive to the basket more,” Gettemeier said. “So I finally did it tonight and it made my shots from the outside much more wide open. It just makes the game a lot better all around.”
“She actually drove to the basket,” Houlihan said. “It was one of her early shots. There were lots of smiles and lots of team chemistry. It definitely was a team win tonight.”
Sophomore Avery Lackey did most of her damage in the second half. She scored 15 of her 17 points in the third and fourth quarters. She picked up her second foul at the end of the first quarter and sat out the entire second quarter.
“It started off pretty rough,” Lackey said. “Thankfully, my team was able to pick up for me and I was able to get back in the second half.”
Houlihan said Lackey adjusted in the second half.
“When Avery got back on the floor, she let the game come to her a little bit more and she had 17 points easy.”
Senior Dani Kimminau netted eight points.
Junior Julia Struckhoff knocked down a pair of three-point baskets for her six points.
Freshman Kaitlyn Patke ended with five points in the second quarter, picking up when Lackey was on the bench.
“Kaitlyn Patke did a good job coming in for Avery and found ways to score off of offensive rebounds and getting to the free-throw line,” Houlihan said. “She’s done a heck of a job since she’s been moved up.”
Senior Lynnae Grus scored two points and sophomore Mya Hillermann added one point.
Borgia went 6-12 from the free-throw line.
Others also played key roles.
“You have a person like Josie Lindemann, who just works her heart out the entire time she’s out there,” Houlihan said. “It inspires everybody else to work that hard.”
Gettemeier said it’s a group effort.
“We’ve got five seniors leaving this year,” Gettemeier said. “I think our bench gives us a lot of hope for next year’s team and I think it will be a good year.”
Gettemeier said team chemistry plays a big role as well.
“It all comes down to team chemistry,” Gettemeier said. “We have a lot of team chemistry this year. It feels great to play unselfish. That’s when you win games when everyone is in there playing.”
Hannibal’s top scorer was freshman Bella Falconer, who netted 13 points.
Junior Kaylee Falconer was next with seven points.
Senior Keri Bareis netted six points.
Sophomore Sydney Hart was next with five points while Sophomore Taylor Simms, senior Autumn Bigsby and sophomore Allie Hull each scored two points.
Hannibal went 8-18 from the free-throw line and didn’t hit any three-point baskets.
Hannibal hit a free throw by Bella Falconer 54 seconds into the game, but neither team scored again until 4:08 remained in the opening quarter. Hannibal got a pair of free throws from Bareis to make it 3-0.
Borgia erased that gap when Struckhoff knocked down a three-point shot with 3:16 to go in the quarter and took the lead for the first time on a Lackey basket.
Hillermann hit her first three to make it 8-3. Hannibal scored the last five points of the half and tied it on a Hart free throw at the end of the quarter.
“We knew we were a better team than what we played in the first quarter, so we knew we had to pick it up in the second quarter,” Gettemeier said. “It was just great my shots were falling, but it was great that the whole team was working together like that because that’s when we play our best game.”
Both teams again started cold in the second quarter and Gettemeier hit a free throw with 6:47 remaining in the half to break the tie and start a five-point Borgia run.
“It took us a little while to get going,” Houlihan said. “Once we got going, we didn’t stop.”
After a Hannibal basket, Borgia went on another nine-point run. The Lady Pirates snapped that, but Gettemeier hit a three and then scored after stealing the inbounds pass to give Borgia a 27-12 lead at the intermission.
“The defense definitely was there,” Houlihan said. “We knew that was going to be OK. We just wanted to score early to give everyone some relief. We hung in there. Dani Kimminau sets the table for us with that defense.”
Borgia never looked back. Houlihan rotated many players into the game to keep her squad fresh and six of them scored.
In the second half, Borgia was able to find quick flowing fast-break plays for layups to put the game away.
Hannibal found its scoring touch in the third quarter, but Borgia was able to keep it out of reach the rest of the way.
Houlihan said it was a tremendous atmosphere with a lot of excitement from the Hannibal crowd.
“We talked about it after Tuesday’s semifinal,” Houlihan said. “They had people here when we got off the bus (for the 4:30 p.m. game). That’s why they wanted to host this. They wanted to give themselves the best possible chance of winning.”