Already eliminated from a repeat of the Kansas Jayhawk Conference title, the No. 7 Labette Cardinals went cold late in a 64-58 loss to the No. 1 Johnson County Cavaliers on Wednesday night. The game also served as the regular season finale.
Labette maintained a 58-52 lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Cardinals were held scoreless down the final stretch of the game as Johnson County finished the night on a 12-0 run to preserve its undefeated record.
“We missed layups,” Labette head coach Mitch Rolls said. “When you can see the rim and the box on the backboard, you’ve got to make those shots. Especially when you’re downhill with your dominant hand. You’ve got to make tough shots down the stretch to beat those types of teams and we didn’t do that.”
Nia Jordan led Labette with 16 points — 12 coming in the first half.
“She was very aggressive,” Rolls said. “They were daring her to shoot in the first half and she gave us some good offense. She’s capable of that every night.”
Nyayien Koang led the Cavaliers with 16 points.
Labette and Johnson County were virtually even in most categories. But the Cavaliers pulled down six more offensive rebounds than the Cardinals, with most of that margin earned in the final period.
“Defensive execution was a big thing,” Rolls said. “The team that made the right plays on defense won down the stretch. They forced us into missed shots and we gave up too many good looks.”
Labette, which is 3-2 since resuming its season from a nearly three-week long shutdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak, dropped to 12-2 overall and 3-2 in KJCCC play with the loss.
Johnson County improved to 18-0 and 8-0 respectively.
“They’re a talented team that has good players and good coaching,” Rolls said. “They’ve done a good job keeping their kids healthy. Them and Kansas City Kansas are on a roll right now because they haven’t had shutdowns. We’ve got to try to get to their level.”
Labette is the third seed in the NJCAA Region VI Tournament and will face sixth-seeded Hesston at home on Monday in the first round. The winner of that game advances to face Kansas City Kansas.
“We’ve got to have some good practices,” Rolls said. “We’ve been struggling with that and it’s shown in the outcomes of our games. We’ve got to have four or five good ones to turn things around.”
No. 1 Johnson County 64, No. 7 Labette 58
Labette: 18 15 17 8 — 58
Johnson County: 14 20 14 16 — 64
Labette: Brianna Randolph 8, Jayla Smith 3, Nia Jordan 16, Christionna Faison 4, Tamiah Robinson 11, Ariah Powell 10, Rishuana Hunter 6
Johnson County: Marissa Ritchey 7, Kylee Massey 2, D. Collier-Williams 4, Presley Barton 3, Nyayien Koang 14, Gabby Fuller 10, LeJahda Boyland 6, Jaylen Townsend 12, Kierra Prim 6