KHS girls basketball team wins district game


Ava McGovern

Anna Newland, junior, dribbles up the court in the David Holley Gymnasium.

After a season record of eight wins and 18 losses, the Kirkwood Girls Varsity Basketball team fought their way to a District win over the four-seed Waynesville on Thursday, Mar. 2. Up 12 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Waynesville Tigers growled back to within three, but Coach Monica Tritz’ Pioneers held strong to advance to the next stage in the postseason. 

Captain Brooke Bendoff, senior, said there wasn’t any strategy change going into Kirkwood’s first must-win game of the season. Instead, there was a change in attitude. 

“Our coach told us we had a chance to get another shot at Eureka, and to get that chance, we had to win this game,” Bendoff said. “That motivated us to perform better as a team, and to perform better together.”

Tritz said her goal with firing up the locker room was to improve communication between her players, something Bendoff said the team had been struggling with all year. The energy that the playoffs brought was the key factor in improving Kirkwood’s weaknesses, Bendoff said. 

“You’re either really good at it, or you’re not great at it, and we’re on the not-so-great end,” Bendoff said. “I think last night we all communicated really well.”

Bendoff said there wasn’t just one player who won the game for the team. Tritz echoed the same sentiment. 

“It’s going to take all 13 of us to win,” Tritz said. “We knew their guard play wasn’t going to be as good, so we were able to sag off a bit and focus on their big girl.”

Tritz said going into the next game against Eureka, Kirkwood is looking to shake up their strategy somewhat in contrast to what happened against Waynesville. That change comes after Kirkwood’s 62-40 loss against Eureka earlier in the year. 

“We’re going to change things defensively, [and] try to give them some different looks,” Tritz said. “It’s going to take our [practice] tonight and our [attitude] tomorrow to win [against Eureka].