The Roundhouse is still Olathe South’s house.
For the fifth time in as many tries, the Falcons came away with the championship of the Mid America Classic as in a battle of Top 3 teams in Class 6A, No. 3 South was a 50-38 winner over No. 2 Manhattan to move to 15-0 all-time in the grand old building.
Ironically, it was the only game of the entire tournament where a lower seed knocked off an upper seed.
While many thought this might be the year the Falcons finally succumbed, they turned up the defensive heat on Manhattan, which had won all 10 of its previous games by double digits, nine of them by at least 20 points.
"You talk about two unbelievable games we had to play and Dodge City (in the opener) is not a bad team," South coach Mike Allen said. "But then we had to face a well-coached McPherson team with (Taylor) Robertson and (Mandi) Cooks. The talk of the Johnson County area was Manhattan. Everybody has been talking about them and we've been hearing about it. I'm not saying our girls were sick of hearing about it, but I think they were excited about playing the team everybody was raving about."
Diminutive point guard Makayla Gooch was the Falcons’ pinwheel as she controlled the game with her ballhandling and deft, no-look passing. She was hurt early in the game and also didn't start the second half, but returned to provide the heartbeat for the team. While she scored only 9 points, she had 7 assists and led a South offense that committed just 6 turnovers.
"I think what probably brought us together was Gooch kind of getting injured early in the game," Allen said. "The girls were concerned about her and she had to go back into the locker room because she wasn't feeling good. We're just a tight unit and I really think that was part of it. It kind of put a charge into everybody that we're going to get through this together."
DejaNae Roebuck was a tower of power on the inside with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Lindsey Bartels ripped down 13 rebounds as South dominated the battle of the boards, 42-30.
South led 25-17 at the half, but heralded Manhattan junior Christianna Carr hit three 3-pointers to finally give Manhattan a 29-28 lead, at which time the Falcons closed the third quarter on an 8-3 run, then had an 8-2 pop to start the fourth quarter and the game was history.
"It was almost like a line in the sand thing when they got the lead," Allen said. "We thought, 'OK that's it. Let's not blow it. We had played too well early to let it get away."
Kia Wilson led Manhattan with 17 points, but Carr only scored 9 as she was limited to 8 shots.
Olathe South (50) — Butuad 2-4, 0-0, 5; Gooch 4-8, 0-0, 9; Griswold 1-7, 3-4, 6; Roebuck 6-10, 5-6, 17; Bartels 3-11, 3-4, 9; Harshbarger 0-1, 0-0, 0; Winslow 1-7, 2-2, 4. Totals — 17-48, 13-16, 50. 3-pointers — Butuad 1, Gooch 1, Griswold 1.
Manhattan (38) — McAtee 2-6, 1-2, 6; Williams 0-5, 0-0, 0; Ke. Wilson 2-5, 0-0, 6; Ki. Wilson 5-11, 7-9, 17; Carr, 3-8, 0-0, 9; Johnson 0-7, 0-0, 0; Harper 0-3, 0-0, 0; Worthington 0-2, 0-0, 0; Hilgers 0-1, 0-0, 0. Totals — 12-48, 8-11, 38. 3-pointers — Carr 3, Ke. Wilson 2, McAtee 1.