The Kapaun girls’ first seven minutes on Saturday at Koch Arena consisted of five turnovers, nine missed shots and two made free throws. It’s a poor showing no matter what, but to have it come against a quality opponent like Andover was worrisome.
"I don’t think we’ve ever played worse," Kapaun junior Sam Bachrodt said. "It was rough. We’ve never been down this year. We didn’t have the defense. We went under screens. They were hitting all their threes. We weren’t rebounding."
The Crusaders’ final three periods were a different story as Kapaun improved to 6-0 with a 50-43 win over Andover in the City League vs. AV-CTL basketball challenge.
The difference was a concerted effort to get Kapaun senior Sydney Kuhn the ball. She had 2 shots in the first quarter but finished with a game-high 24 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
"That was our plan, to get the ball in to Syd," Kapaun coach Marvin Estes said. "When they would collapse, then we would rotate on the perimeter."
Andover, up 7-4 after the first quarter, built a 26-13 lead in the second by hitting 4 of 4 threes, including two from Katelyn Day, who finished with a team-high 15 points.
"I told the girls at half, ‘if they shoot that well the whole game, you don’t have anything to worry about because you won’t be in the ballgame anyway,’ " Estes said.
While Kapaun used a 9-0 run to get within four, sparked by two threes from Janay Jacobs, Andover took a 31-22 to open the third on a Lexi Tilson basket.
And that’s when Kapaun really went inside to Kuhn. She converted on a three-point play, and when Andover focused more attention on her, Bachrodt hit a three as the Crusaders started a 17-0 run.
"Once I hit the three, I knew we were picking things up, and we just needed to build on the lead," said Bachrodt, who had 11 points.
Kapaun held Andover to four points in the period.
"Third quarter is our Achilles heel again," Andover coach Max Hamblin said. "It’s been our M.O. so far this season. We just don’t come out very good…. We had trouble with (Kuhn) and we needed to be doubling when we were supposed to. But sometimes she got loose, and we didn’t help our post players."
Bachrodt, who had battled Andover junior Jaylyn Agnew all game, had one point in the first half. She hit two threes in the third.
Agnew, who finished with 13 points, helped get Andover back in the game after falling behind by eight. Mia Hays hit a three and Agnew hit two baskets as Kapaun’s lead dwindled to 41-40 with 4:45 to go.
Over the next three minutes, though, Kuhn made three baskets.
"Sydney went off and had a great game," Hamblin said. "We couldn’t stop her, and that was the difference."