Hermann girls win 6th straight district championship, move on to sectionals
By Don Kruse, Editor
Karrine Lane came up one steal short of a triple-double, sparking Hermann to a 60-44 win over North Callaway in the Class 3 District 6 championship game Saturday at Kingdom City.
It is the sixth district title in a row for Coach Todd Anderson’s Lady Bearcats (23-4), who play North Tech of St. Louis in the state sectionals Wednesday night at Francis Howell Central. Tip-off time is 7:45. Hermann was the top seed in its district; North Callaway was No. 2.
The Lady Bearcats set the tone early with a menacing defense. Lane and her running mate at guard, sophomore Tesla Ruediger, smothered the Lady Thunderbirds’ backcourt players, while Jamie Gleeson batted away entry passes into the post. The T-Birds found it difficult to get into their offense.
Hermann, a 48-43 loser to the T-Birds on January 3, the first game after the Christmas break, shot to a 15-4 lead at the quarter, and opened up a 19-point halftime spread (33-14).
At one stretch in the second quarter, Lane, a 5-5 point guard, recorded three consecutive steals, turning two of them into break-away layups.
“You always get her best effort,” said Anderson. “She’s our playmaker, and tonight we asked them (the guards) to step up their pressure on the perimeter.”
Anderson said they studied the Lady T-Birds’ personnel after their first game, and made considerable adjustments in how they played them this time. It all had to do with getting more pressure on their guards, and keeping the ball from going to the post.
The last time they played, Hermann shot poorly from the field, and from behind the 3-point arc, while North Callaway controlled the tempo. This time, the Lady Bearcats turned up their defensive pressure and turned steals into points. Hermann had a total of 21 steals.
The Lady Bearcats did not bury a lot of 3s in their title win, but they didn’t have to. Their defense set the offense in motion.
Hermann’s biggest lead reached 22 points late in the third quarter
The Lady Bearcats hit a high percentage of their conventional baskets (21 of 38), but were just 3 of 18 from 3-point range.
Lane finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine steals, and Gleeson led all scorers with 16 points. She also pulled down nine rebounds and added five steals. Lane had eight assists.
Kirsten Leimkuehler, 5-10 junior forward, has stepped up her game in recent weeks. She scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and has become more adept at slashing to the basket.
Kali Stiers knocked down three treys and finished with nine points, and Ruediger added eight points, four steals and four assists.
North Tech (18-6) defeated Cardinal Ritter last Friday to win the District 5 title at Vashon.