WABASH — Lewis Cass’ girls basketball team had a spirited second-half comeback effort fall short in a loss to Northfield on Wednesday at the Class 2A Northfield Sectional.
An 20-point halftime deficit was too much for the Kings to overcome in a 47-41 loss to the Norsemen.
The Kings have to settle for an 8-12 finish under first-year coach Meranda Burnett. The eight wins are their most since Steve Ford’s final year in 2008.
Northfield (12-7) faces No. 8 Oak Hill on Friday.
The Kings trailed 24-4 at halftime after an ice-cold first half. They had a number of good looks at the basket that would just not fall. Northfield got to the line 21 times (hitting 10) in the half compared to Cass’ zero attempts.
But the Kings opened the second half with a 23-7 run and trailed just 31-27 after a Maci Maupin steal and bucket with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.
Burnett was happy with how her squad answered the bell to open the second half.
“I told them, that second half, that’s a tournament half. At halftime, I said we’re not blaming anybody but ourselves,” she said. “That second half was great. I had people step up.”
Northfield again utilized its height advantage, getting many second and third chances at the basket to build back up a 42-27 advantage midway through the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t at the right place at the right time. We weren’t finding a body when the shot went up,” Burnett said. “The second-chance shots hurt us tonight. It’s something we’ll definitely focus on after this season and in the summer time because it wasn’t just tonight, it was a reoccurring thing throughout the season. So we’ll definitely work on things like that, boxing out, better defense, better positioning, so that next year we don’t have to be in a situation like that.”
But the Kings answered with another strong run, and back-to-back 3-pointers by Ashton McClain and Maupin brought them to within 42-35 with 2:30 left to play.
Savanna Thompson knocked down a pair of 3s to twice bring the Kings to within five points late. But the Norse hit just enough free throws late before time ran out on the Kings’ comeback bid.
Maupin led the Kings with 15 points and three steals. Thompson scored 12 points. Olivia Collins had six points, seven boards and three blocks. McClain added five points. Carley Weaver pulled down seven rebounds and Haley Johnson added five.
Kylie Echard, a 6-foot senior, led the Norse with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Payton Thompson had 11 points and Sidney Reed added eight.
Northfield got to the line 39 times but made just 20. Cass made 12 of 15.
Burnett overall was pleased with Year 1.
“This season has been rough on the girls with low numbers and we’ve got people injured. So I couldn’t be more proud of them, just how their whole demeanor was. They came to practice every day and wanted to work hard. They accepted all the new things that were thrown at them,” she said.
The Kings will graduate just one senior in point guard Maupin. They’ll return a lot of experience next year including talented freshmen Collins and Thompson.
“I told them it starts tomorrow, it starts this spring, it starts in the summer. It goes into the fall,” Burnett said. “Don’t wait until October this year to pick up a basketball. I said that’s what I’m here for. You’re never going to inconvenience me. I’ve already had girls asking me can I come in in the mornings. Just the fact that now we’ve kind of set a new standard for Cass basketball, we’ve changed the culture ultimately.”
Scorebox: Northfield 47, Cass 41. Next: Kings finish 8-12.