Truman Tournament ends in heartbreak for Lady Bruins


John Flanegin

The RBHS girls’ basketball team left Truman High School with a buzzer beater defeat, fourth place finish, and a bitter taste in their mouths after three days of competition in the annual Truman Tournament.
However, the three game campaign didn’t start as it ended for the Lady Bruins as the squad began the tournament with a 54-34 win in the opening game against the Lee’s Summit Tigers. Despite trailing 16-9 at the end of the first quarter, RBHS’ offense got rolling after the first intermission and held a four point lead over the Tigers at the end of the first half, 26-22.  
“[After the first quarter] We picked up on defense, got some tips from our coaches, made smart passes, and talked as a team,” sophomore guard Katey Klucking said. “We just pushed ourselves to be more successful when we stepped back onto the floor in the second quarter.”
And that push would be all the Lady Bruins needed as they held LHS to only 12 points in the entirety of the second half and coasted to a 20 point victory, 54-34 and a semi-final matchup with a familiar foe in the Liberty Blue Jays.
RBHS faced the Jays in last year’s Class 5 State Final, where they secured their fourth straight State Title, 49-35.
“[Liberty] was very familiar,” senior guard Brianna Ellis said. “We knew four of their starting five and their tendencies very well. We knew [Morgan] Fleming was going to produce points and we knew that they had very good three point shooters.”
Even with the increased understanding of the Jays’ tactics and tendencies, LHS senior guard Morgan Fleming would bury the Lady Bruins for 21 points and lead her team to the tournament final defeating RBHS 56-46 and exacting revenge in the near 10 months since the teams had last met.
Falling into the consolation bracket after the loss, RBHS was set to do battle against the William Chrisman Bears in the tournament’s arguably most exciting game. The two squads were deadlocked throughout the entirety of the game with the lead changing hands with just about every other bucket that fell.
A Madison Treece basket with 10 seconds left in the game gave the Lady Bruins a 45-44 lead and an opportunity at closing out the tournament with a third place finish. But, a three-pointer at the buzzer by the Bears would quickly end those prospects, RBHS had lost.
But with the loss comes the change of focus from the Tournament to arguably the Lady Bruins’ most important games of the season, a meeting with crosstown rival Hickman this coming Tuesday. For Ellis and fellow seniors this home matchup is one of the last times they’ll feel the energy of a rivalry game, especially on their home court. However, Ellis views the date with the Kewpies as just another clash on the schedule.
“I just want to know I went out and played hard,” Ellis said. “Not worry about the name on the front of their jersey and just play like it’s another team in the state.”
How do you think the team will do against the Kewpies? Let us know in the comments section below!