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By Russ Green-Sports Editor
Playing what coach David Littrell called his team’s best defensive effort of the season, the Richmond Lady Spartans will make just their second district final appearance ever Friday night. The Lady Spartans will meet MRVC East foe Higginsville for the fourth time this season in a 5:30 p.m. tipoff. Richmond advanced past St. Paul Lutheran Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Class 3, District 14 tournament with a 48-37 victory at the RHS gym.
The Lady Spartans, now 18-9, will play for the district title for the first time since losing a 42-35 decision to St. Pius at Higginsville in 2008.
“I can’t say enough of how proud I am of these girls,” Littrell said. “They have all worked very hard this year and for them to be playing for a district championship on their home court is an awesome reward for the commitment they have made to the basketball program at RHS.”
In order to advance, the Lady Spartans had to shut down St. Paul’s 5-10 junior Rebecca Roepe inside, in addition to slowing down the guards Breanna Vogelsmeier and Tiffany Bennett.
“We played one of our best defensive games of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Littrell said. “Our defensive positioning effort kept St. Paul out of the bonus throughout the contest and to top it off the girls did a great job closing out their perimeter shooters.”
Roepe got in early foul trouble and drew her third personal within the first minute of the second period and ended the night with 12 points while Vogelsmeier added 8 points and Bennett, 7.
Even though Richmond was in command through most of the contest, things still got tight in the second half. The Lady Spartans led 25-14 at the break, but managed just 2 points in the third quarter while limiting the Saints to 5.