Boone's aces lift Toreadors past Perry into regional semifinal

Sean Cordy
Perry's Lydia Olejniczak in action during a regional quarterfinal game against Boone on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

It's that time of year again. One team moves on, another turns in their jerseys for the season. On the positive side of that equation, Boone (10-11) walked out of its gym with a 70-27 win over Perry (2-20) in Wednesday night's regional quarterfinal. 

Chapter Three

After writing the first two chapters this season against Perry with relative ease, there would be no plot twist for the Toreadors as they stormed out to a 31-16 lead at halftime. That was the closest margin Perry has had in the three outings against Boone, largely thanks to the strong play in the first quarter  8-4.

"We already know what the results have been and we have an idea of what the results will be," Perry head coach Skylar Wolf said. "Based off our first quarter, we put all that behind us and we came ready to play tonight and I was very proud of our team for doing that."

Boone's Emily Ades guards Perry's Kennedy Tunink during a regional quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in Boone.

The same message can be said of Boone's team, digging in and finding the path out of an early jam. As has been the case many times this season, that all revolved around the game on the perimeter.

In the zone

Ranked 13th in three-point efficiency among Class 4A this season with a 30 percent rate, Boone has lived by the long ball this season. There are nights like the second game with the Jayettes where Boone works in a brick factory, but when all-time leading scorer Emma Dighton (14 points) is able to draw attention down low, it's a reign of fire.

As a team, Boone connected on 14-of-39 shots from distance. Before putting in the reserves in the final minutes, that was closer to 50 percent. 

Emma Dighton runs the ball up the court for the Toreadors during a regional match-up with Perry on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in Boone.

"One of the things that got us going, was we started hitting the boards hard," Boone head coach Jim McPartland said. "We had a couple of possessions where we had three shots and finally got the second rebound and kicked it back out and made it. Once we got the lead by 10, the kids just kind of relaxed."

While the big numbers put up by Emily Ades (15 pts) and Morgan Kathman (14 pts), both shooting 4-of-8 from range (often on back-to-back possessions), were major contributions, there was more silent work in the background. Zoey Hightshoe may have had only four points, but her six offensive rebounds were vital in creating such opportunities as were the team's 13 total steals that McPartland said got the team's motor running in transition.

Perry's opportunities were limited in comparison, but Lydia Olejniczak's night operated well under a similar philosophy as she hit both her three-pointers and finished with 15 points. Kennedy Tunink was second in line with five points.

Staying on message

Jayna Kenney moves the ball up the court for Perry during a regional contest against Boone on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

As Perry's season comes to a close, so does the era under Wolf as — pending school board approval — Wednesday was his final game coaching the Jayettes as he has taken an offer outside the district.

"We base our whole program on having good relationships, so it's not a sour goodbye," Wolf said. "I was very proud of our kids not giving up when they could have."

Hoping to keep the season alive, Boone will need to stay on-message Saturday against Denison-Schleswig (17-4) to continue writing their story. While Wednesday marked the eighth straight year with a postseason victory, the Toreadors haven't won in the semifinal round since 2018.

Boone's Hannah Chesnut guards a Perry player on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, during a regional quarterfinal game in Boone.