Kori Babcock tied her career-high with 28 points to lead the Chanute Lady Blue Comets to a 63-48 win over the Independence Lady Bulldogs on Friday night at Chanute High School.
Major contributors aside from Babcock, who notched her third double-double of the year thanks to 10 rebounds added to her production, were Makayla Schoenhofer with 13 points and four rebounds and Brianna Waggoner with seven points, four rebounds and three steals.
The consistent production helped the Lady Blue Comets break through early. With the score tied at 15, Babcock completed a three-point play after a made free throw to put Chanute up 18-15 early in the first half.
But from this point on, CHS wouldn’t look back and improved their undefeated SEK record to 3-0. Chanute is the only team to remain undefeated in the league.
“I think the biggest thing is just sticking with it. They hit some tough shots early and we missed some shots that we probably could’ve and should’ve made, but we kept on grinding,” head coach Dustin Fox said after the game. “Kori is such a great player and she’s going to get hot at some point and time. And our other girls stepped up and made big shots when they were left open. And when there is that much attention to Kori like there was tonight, the other girls are going to have to step up. And we had a lot of other girls step up and make big plays.”
Huge plays throughout the ballgame meant Chanute advanced the ball as quickly as possible off of missed baskets, finding open players in the full-court press, and locating players who were wide open after guards driving deep in the paint.
All of this, at least on the offensive end, led to some wide-open 3s, as the Lady Blue Comets were able to make seven versus the Lady Bulldogs three.
Babcock, who had a chance to surpass her career high of 28 points but missed a free throw late in the game, said no matter what the situation, it is her job to lead by example.
“I try to get my teammates up and hyped about what we are doing. We all try to get the best shot we possibly can,” Babcock said. “I really don’t think about shooting when we are down, I just think of what’s best for us.”
Still, most of the time what’s best for the team is for Babcock to be aggressive. And Independence was playing off of her, so much so that she was able to utilize the space to make crossover dribble moves or use a first step to bull-rush her way to the paint for an easy basket, or even a dish off to Schoenhofer for an easy one.
Things were in favor of Chanute the entire night. A single play that highlighted this was Babcock stroking a 3 off of a broken play, which put the score at 39-25 with 4:41 left in the third.
But good activity on the defensive end and the Lady Blue Comets orchestrating the right play led to a 46-30 lead at the end of the third, leading to a 15-point lead by the end of the game.
“They (Independence) were picked third in the SEK, so we beat the top three teams that were picked ahead of us now,” Fox said. “It definitely leads to confidence for the girls now, knowing that we can be successful against the other teams in the SEK, but ultimately you’ve got to keep it up.”
Chanute kept it up with a stout defense all night, allowing just one double-digit scorer on the other team.
Up next, Chanute (6-1, 3-0) will play in Parsons on Tuesday at 6 pm.