The Lebanon Lady Greyhounds were poised to make a deep tournament run as the top AP Poll 1A team for most of the season. Lebanon, however, made a premature exit Tuesday night when it was upset by the 1A defending state champion Hardin-Calhoun Lady Warriors 61-50.
The Greyhounds (28-2) did take an early 6-2 lead in the first but were soon hit with a 10-0 Calhoun run that made Lebanon play from behind. The Greyhounds battled back and tied it at 19-19 by outscoring the Warriors 12-7 in the second quarter. Both Kendra and Krista Bass recorded key steals that led to eventual baskets.
Lebanon hung tough with their opponent but ultimately could not shut down Calhoun’s scoring offensive. The Lady Warriors poured on 61 points — the most the Greyhounds haven given up all season.
“We helped them catch fire by giving them open looks,” said Lebanon coach Chad Cruthis. “They are still the defending state champion, so you have to give them credit it for defending their crown.”
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In the fourth quarter, they were able to trim a 14-point deficit to just seven in a matter of minutes. Krista Bass provided two 3s in less than a minute as the Greyhounds suddenly got hot from 3-point range, with four total in the final quarter. But Calhoun buttoned up defensively, pushing its lead back to double digits, and never looked back.
The Warriors (24-5) were able to generate the 3 ball as Junior Junie Zirkelbach had a huge night and provided four of the seven baskets from beyond the arc.
“Zirkelbach is a dangerous girl because she can shot fake you on the floor and finish around the rim,” said Cruthis. “Or if they are going to the rim and someone steps over they just throw the ball in the air and let Grace (Baalman) get it and finish it.”
“We did an excellent job on the defensive end,” said Calhoun coach Aaron Baalman. “They (Lebanon) are so quick and their guards are really good athletes. Defense wins games like these. We have been in situations like this before in our program; all these girls know how to do is win.”
Sophomore Emily Reinneck led Lebanon with 15 points, including two 3s.
Junior Junie Zirchelbach led Hardin-Calhoun with 27 points, including four 3s. She was followed by senior Grace Baalman with 17 points.