MIDDLEFIELD–Cardinal High School honored its senior girls’ basketball players prior to Thursday night’s non-conference game with Conneaut.
Senior Lexy Fenselon then went out and opened the game with a 3-pointer that sparked the Huskies to lead for most of the first three quarters. The Spartans, who hit six straight free throws in the closing minutes, pulled out a 40-31 win over the Huskies.
“We had every chance to put them away going into the fourth quarter but we didn’t play a very good fourth quarter,” said Cardinal coach Luke Kruse. “We had way too many turnovers and a lot of missed shots. You just can’t win when you turn the ball over that much in the fourth quarter when it’s a close game.”
Junior Haley Adams led the Huskies with nine points while seniors Jess Koches and Cheyenne Polverine finished with six and seven, respectively. Fenselon finished with three. Junior Emily Kruse contributed with six.
The loss left the Huskies in a foul mood but that didn’t diminish the efforts of the three seniors during the Cardinal careers.
“The disappointment of the night doesn’t color the fact that all three of the seniors have given so much to the program and are truly players that lead by example,” Coach Kruse said.
Koches, who leads the team with 9.7 points per game, was one of the Huskies’ best overall players on both ends of the floor.
“I talked to them before the game and I pointed out something that I appreciated about each senior,” Kruse said. “For Jess it was that she flat out competes for 32 minutes. She’s one of our top rebounders even though she’s pretty small in size. The girls really follow her attack mentality. I’ve always appreciated that about her.”
Polverine always brought an intensity to the floor that was hard to match. She excelled on defense and was as coachable as any player that came before her.
“I always appreciated her defensive intensity,” Kruse said. “We always give her one of the toughest assignments and she always does a great job. She’s also a listener and a student of the game. She’s someone in a timeout or in practice she’s giving me her full eye contact and she really tries to go out and implement what we go over in practice. I’ve always appreciated her defensive intensity and her willingness to learn and get better.”
Fenselon’s love for the game showed every time she stepped onto the court. She played hard and gave everything she had in every game.
“With Lexy, she just has the heart for basketball,” Kruse said. “She loves to play and compete. She’s always smiling when she’s out there and her enthusiasm for the game of basketball is extremely contagious. She plays a lot bigger than her size and her love of the game that we as a team feed off of.”
The Huskies travel to Woodridge on Saturday.