Stauch’s big shot ignites Chieftains
Trailing by three with just a few seconds left in regulation against Buhler on Friday, THS coach Randy Kraft had simple instructions for his team.
If someone had an open look at a three-pointer, they should to take it. Whoever took the shot needed to just square up and follow through.
It turned out Kelley Stauch would be taking the shot.
Stauch was wide-open near the right elbow. She launched the ball with seconds remaining.
Thanks to the backboard, Stauch's shot sent Tonganoxie into overtime. The bank shot found its way through the hoop as rabid Chieftain fans behind Stauch went crazy.
"Halfway through the shot, I thought I pushed it too hard," Stauch said. "I thought 'please hit the glass."
Stauch's wish was granted.
The shot tied the game at 47 and kept Tonganoxie alive in overtime.
Stauch's memory after the game-tying basket was fuzzy at best.
"My mind was blank," Stauch said. "All I saw was a bunch of people coming at me."
That group consisted of her teammates, who were celebrating another buzzer-beater.
Against Sumner six days before, Ali Pistora's jumper tied that game up and sent Tonganoxie into overtime. The Chieftains throttled Sumner in overtime and looked to do the same early against Buhler, but the Crusaders had a different idea.
Buhler outscored Tonganoxie in the extra period and eventually won the state tournament with a win against Labette County.
Stauch, though wouldn't mind another shot at the state title.
"We just have to believe in each other and work as a team," Stauch said.