ALTAMONT — With the lights cut back on in Altamont, the Labette County Grizzlies shined bright as they secured at least a share of the SEK League title on Friday night with a 49-37 win over Pittsburg.
Labette County locked up at least a share of the league title thanks to its win as well as Independence’s loss to Chanute. The Grizzlies have now won the SEK League in six of the last seven seasons.
“This is a special bunch,” Labette County head coach Kristi Snider said. “We’re always taking it one game at a time. There will be tough games next week. But with this year, you never knew. We were lucky to stay healthy. These kids are coachable that do everything you ask. Sometimes they run through the wall when there’s no wall there. It’s a credit to how hard they work.”
Friday’s tilt with Pittsburg, reeling from injuries to two starters including leading scorer Madden Petty, was a physical affair from tipoff until the final horn.
“It’s good for us,” Snider said. “We know how to be physical. We have some big girls and so do they. There was definitely some pushing and shoving in there but we handled it fine.”
The Grizzlies’ offense was manufactured on the defensive end as Labette County registered 20 steals in the win.
“We didn’t capitalize as much as we should have,” Snider said. “We’re doing some things different defensively. But you expect things to look a little ragged with your first game back in a week.”
Madison Brannin led Labette County with 12 points while Elsie Sorrell added 10.
With the week’s winter storm putting basketball on hold for four days, Snider was happy to just see her team back on the court.
“We were in a streak of playing consistently and we were getting better every time we played,” Snider said. “That’s still there. We just need a daily schedule. I’m a person that likes to be on a rigid schedule.”
Pittsburg dropped to 11-5 overall and 5-4 in SEK League play with the loss. The Purple Dragons face Fort Scott on Saturday.
Labette County improved to 14-2 and 9-0 in the league.
The Grizzlies wrap up its regular season next week with three games against Chanute, Coffeyville and then Independence. A win in either of those games will secure an outright league championship for Labette County.
“We need to fix things on both sides of the ball,” Snider said. “Sometimes when we’re running numbers of kids out there, the flow isn’t as good. Not playing for so long, we need to get back in the flow. The kids will hopefully get back to school next week and that will help.”
Labette County 49, Pittsburg 37
Labette Co.: 16 9 11 13 - 49
Pittsburg: 11 9 10 7 - 37
Labette County: Karsyn Stewart 5, Lauren Forbes 4, Claire Carnahan 6, Jasmine Perez 4, Anna Dean 8, Madison Brannin 12, Elsie Sorrell 10
Pittsburg: Addison Forneli 2, Cheyenne Hunt 4, Kiley Mussa 2, Natalie Talent 6, Jay Minniefield 11, Ela Hendrickson 12