TOPEKA — Kapaun Mount Carmel won its battle against attrition and subsequently Saturday’s third-place Class 5A girls game against Great Bend, with the Crusaders overcoming two scary injuries and foul trouble to hold off Great Bend 58-49 and cap a 22-3 season.
Kapaun had two players, junior Grace Hagan and senior Janay Jacobs, go down with injuries in the second half while 6-foot-1 senior Sydney Kuhn fouled out after scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Hagan hit her head on the floor after a collision late in the third quarter, but was able to return late in the game and provide stability for the Crusaders down the stretch. Jacobs suffered an apparent hip injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.
But junior Sam Bachrodt scored a game-high 18 points and Kapaun was able to hit enough free throws down the stretch (17 of 29 for the game) to hold Great Bend (21-4) at bay.
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“I said, ‘Guys, if we’re going to be in a dogfight we’ve got to be dogs, so let’s go,’ ” Kapaun coach Marvin Estes said. “I told them, ‘You’ve got to get active, you’ve got to get busy, you’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve got to go after the ball on the floor,’ and that’s what it took. That’s what they were doing so we had to combat that.’’
Kapaun got a lift from the return of point guard Hagan, who hit four three throws and also helped handle Great Bend’s pressure down the stretch.
“Of course we went through all kinds of people to get the OK on that one (Hagan’s return),’’ Estes said. “Her dad’s a physician and he said she was fine, so we let her play.’’
Great Bend did not have a player in double figures, but the balanced Panthers had three players with nine points and a fourth with eight.