Aubree Lawrie had 12 points for the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
Aubree Lawrie had 12 points for the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
To say this weekend was one with adversity for the entire Independence basketball program would be an understatement.
They had to deal with it off the court and on the court, and yet, they still found a way to make the most of the time they got with a basketball in their hands.
From the very beginning of the week both teams had to deal with the prospect of not knowing when they were going to play.
The Burlington Invitational was supposed to start on Tuesday night for Indy, but it got pushed back to Thursday because of weather.
Then it was supposed to pick up on Thursday but got pushed back again to Friday, so the game schedule got screwed up and the practice schedule got thrown off as well.
All both teams could do was wait to get the OK as to head up to Burlington and it was a less than ideal situation to say the least.
"It was terrible," Indy forward Caleb Johnson said after their second round win over Labette County on Saturday. "We were all excited to go play the next day and then it got cancelled, it just sucked."
But the tournament would eventually get tipped off on Friday night, but with that being the opener of the Invitational, the final round had to be pushed back to Monday, so both teams will have to have played four games in five days by the time Tuesday rolls around.
They dealt with adversity from the beginning of last week and that adversity will show no signs of slowing down.
But after their games on Friday night Independence got hit again, this time with news from off the court.
We will not go into details of that incident here because it is not our place to do so, but what happened shocked everyone in the program and certainly had an impact on them that will last far beyond this weekend.
And after learning of this, they didn't get to head home from Burlington until after 10 p.m. on Friday night and had to immediately turn around the next morning to get back to playing basketball while their minds were clearly somewhere else and rightly so.
"With all the emotions going with everything I think the kids did an excellent job," Bulldog head coach Marcus Lanning said. "The kids had heavy hearts for the family and they're thinking about them.
"We're all one family and so I think them coming out and doing what they did is pretty exceptional for what is going on."
And what those young athletes did was get two wins on Saturday afternoon despite the quick turnaround and despite all of the emotions from the last 24 hours.
The boys got a win over a tough team in Labette County and the girls got one over Iola and a slew of incidents with scorekeepers and officials.
From the very beginning the Lady Bulldogs had to worry about foul trouble as there were ultimately 52 fouls called and 62 free throws shot.
They had to deal with Iola making their first 12 free throws on the day to stay in the game and they had to deal with scorekeeper problems all game long.
Now, shots cannot and should not be taken at scorekeepers at tournaments. Oftentimes those scorekeepers are asked on short notice to help out, don't have a lot of experience and almost always volunteer for the position.
They aren't getting paid, so it is tough to be hard on them for mistakes.
However, one mistake made actually cost Indy a player. Hope Renfro was called for three fouls in the first half on Saturday afternoon and didn't get to play a whole lot because of that.
But in the third quarter she did a good job of avoiding fouls until she was called for one on a fast break at the start of the fourth quarter.
That was her fourth foul and she was sure to be taken out as soon as there was a dead ball, but head coach Dale Reynolds did not have a chance to get her out at that moment.
That's not a big deal though because Renfro is a smart player and she can avoid foul trouble for a few minutes.
However, when the ball was put in play Iola's head coach was screaming from the sideline saying there should be a technical called on Indy.
Why?
Because the scoreboard showed Renfro had five fouls. Looking back at the tape and tracking throughout the game, Renfro did not have five fouls. She had four.
However, after minutes of conference between officials and scorekeepers, the officials made the determination that they could not refute the fact that Renfro had five fouls and thus fouled her out of the game.
Indy was now down a starter because of scorer error.
Now, they could have gotten upset and let it affect them. But did they do that? No. They in fact went on an immediate 8-0 run that would give them a lead that Iola would never get close to overcoming in an 11-point win.
Just like in the last 24 hours, the Lady Bulldogs gutted up in those final six minutes and ignored the adversity placed in front of them.
"I think we kind of fueled off of it," Aubree Lawrie said after the game. "I don't know, it made us better, we got angry, kind of shot better, kind of wanted to put it in their face, so we did."
There is no better way to put a team away than to channel aggression toward playing harder. When a team uses aggression and anger to attack another team that can be detrimental, but when they channel it into focus, a team only gets better.
And with everything that has happened to the Indy program in recent memory there were plenty of emotions to channel into focus.
But watching these two teams play like they did despite knowing everything going on behind the scenes was inspiring to watch and we can only hope that they continue to turn these tough moments into strength for the coming weeks.
"There was a lot of adversity today," Lady Bulldog head coach Dale Reynolds said. "Iola played hard, they got after us, we came out a little bit slow the first quarter, but in the second quarter we started playing better.
"We had two quarters with over 20 points which is outstanding and we had to combat some foul trouble, and a little bit of confusion with the scorebook, one of our starters goes out which isn't good. But we talked about that when were in the huddle that it was not going to affect us, we had to play, they had to step up and play and to our girls credit we came out with an 8-0 run and we kind of separated and that was key."