TOPEKA — Kapaun Mount Carmel was probably going to need one of its best shooting games to knock off top seed Leavenworth in Friday’s Class 5A girls semifinal.
Instead, the Crusaders suffered through one of their worst, shooting 15 percent from the field as the Pioneers rolled to Saturday’s championship game with a 48-26 win at the Kansas Expocentre.
A 14-0 run by Leavenworth that started late in the first quarter and didn’t end until two minutes into the second half and a 3 of 23 first-half shooting performance (13 percent) ended the Crusaders’ title chances, with Kapaun falling to 21-3.
“You’ve got to give their defense a lot of credit,’’ Kapaun coach Marvin Estes said. “They’re a good team. In fact, they’re a very good team, they’re probably the best team we’ve faced this year. I think sometimes we just got impatient. We’re used to scoring more points and we got impatient and panicked a little bit and tried to put up a weak shot and we shouldn’t have done that.
“But our kids didn’t give up, they played hard the whole time. We were just outclassed tonight.’’
Leavenworth, the No. 1 seed, scored the last four points of the first quarter to take a 13-8 lead then held Kapaun scoreless in the second quarter en route to a 21-8 halftime advantage.
Leavenworth also got the first bucket of the second half before Kapaun finally got two free throws from senior Sydney Kuhn with 5:48 left in the third to end the Crusader drought. The Pioneers opened up a 33-13 advantage with 2:14 left in the third quarter and Leavenworth was in command 33-16 at the start of the fourth.
“I think they were tired because that’s a very good team and they normally hit a lot of shots that they missed,’’ Leavenworth coach Derek Zeck said. “But I don’t want to take anything away from our defense, I think it’s pretty good, too.
“They’re a really good team and I think yesterday’s game (a 35-34 win over Aquinas) really wore them down.’’
Tyler Johnson, a 6-foot-2 junior, had 19 points and six rebounds for 23-1 Leavenworth, which shot 58.1 percent and led by 25 points late in the game. The Pioneers’ lone senior, point guard Emma Zeck, added 11 points.
Kuhn led Kapaun with 10 points. Junior Sam Bachrodt added nine points but suffered through a 2 of 18 shooting game from the field. The rest of the Kapaun team managed seven points.
Kapaun will play for third place at noon Saturday.
“My hope is that our kids will rebound,’’ Estes said. “And they’re good kids, they’ll come back when they see the importance of winning that last game.’’