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Lady Hornets Run Out Of Steam In State Semifinal Overtime Against Lift For Life

The Chillicothe Lady Hornets girls basketball team played their hearts out, and then some, on Wednesday night in the Class 4 State Semifinals from Mizzou Arena. The #3 (27-1) Chillicothe Lady Hornets met the #2 (26-3) Lift For Life Academy Lady Hawks in Columbia with a spot in the State Championship on the line.


Both teams found success offensively in the early going in different ways. Lift For Life made four 3-point shots in the first quarter, and 6 for the half, while the Lady Hornets shot over 50% from the field in each quarter in the first half. Chillicothe allows just 31 points per game on the season and no team during their four game post-season run had scored more than 38 in a game, however the Lady Hawks poured in 38 in the first half alone. Chillicothe matched their opponent every step of the way, keyed by Liz Oliver who scored 14 first half points. After 12 first half lead changes, Lift For Life used a late run to secure their largest lead of the half at 38-33 as both teams went to the locker room.


The Lady Hawks continued their momentum in the 3rd quarter, opening up a 9 point advantage midway through the period. Coach Darren Smith used a timeout and the Lady Hornets emerged from the huddle, a different team. Jolie Bonderer scored 13 points in the quarter, part of her career high 36 on the night as the Lady Hornets stormed back, to tie the game heading into the 4th at 54-54.


The 4th quarter featured multiple ties and lead changes as the spot in the State Championship hung in the balance. The Lady Hornets were trailing by 2 with one minute to play when Jolie Bonderer was fouled and sent to the free throw line. The senior guard connected on the pair to tie the game. In the final minute the Lady Hornets suffered several setbacks. Both Liz Oliver, and Lyla Beetsma fouled out of the game, all while Chillicothe could not manage to clear the boards. Lift For Life secured 21 offensive rebounds to Chillicothe’s 9. The Lady Hawks finished with 11 more 2nd chance points in the game including their final two points of regulation which put Lift For Life ahead with 13 seconds remaining. Down by 2 with two starters having to watch from the bench, Kayanna Cranmer raced ahead with the ball and found a cutting Jolie Bonderer who banked the game tying shot off the glass with her left hand to send the State Semifinal to overtime at 69-69.


Cranmer gave Chillicothe a 1 point lead at 71-70 on an assist from Bonderer early in overtime. Lift For Life responded with their largest run of the game, scoring 9 consecutive points as Chillicothe ran out of gas late. Shorthanded, the Lady Hornets uncharacteristically turned the ball over, as Lift For Life’s 15 steals resulted in 20 Chillicothe turnovers. Jolie Bonderer and all the Lady Hornets fought to the bitter end, but the senior’s 36 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists were ultimately not enough, Lift For Life survived with an 85-77 victory in a game that featured 14 ties and 18 lead changes.


Chillicothe suffered just their 2nd defeat of the season and their first against an in-state opponent in the Class 4 State Semifinal. The Lady Hornets will play on Thursday in the 3rd place game at 2 PM once again at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, against 22-8 Owensville who lost to 27-4 Central of Park Hills by a score of 44-30 in the other semifinal game. Lift For Life and Central will play for the Class 4 State Championship Thursday at 8 PM.


Chillicothe 16 33 54 69 77

Lift For Life 19 38 54 69 85

Individual scoring:

Chillicothe – J. Bonderer 36, Oliver 14, Beetsma 9, Cranmer 8, Delanie Kieffer 6, Lydia Bonderer 4

Lift For Life – Zha’Viara Harris 32, Diamond Polk 19, Amaya Manuel 16, Alandyn Simmons 6, Cara Manuel 5, Rian Lenox 4, Paige Fowler 3