Werdehausen steps up for Blair Oaks

In girls basketball semifinal victory

ASHLAND, Mo. — It was Darian Werdehausen’s night to shine.

With Blair Oaks’ leading scorer LeeAnn Polowy held to just three points, all coming in the game’s final five minutes, Werdehausen stepped up to lead the top-seeded Lady Falcons to a 42-30 win against fourth-seeded Centralia in the Class 3 District 8 semifinals Wednesday night at Southern Boone.

“Centralia was keying so much on Lee whenever she got the ball, they really shifted to that side,” Blair Oaks head coach Leroy Bernskoetter said. “That allowed Darian to have some open space and she did a nice job. Once she got going, she’s that type of player, where once things start falling for her she can be pretty good.”

Werdehausen finished with game highs of 15 points and 12 rebounds. The senior forward went 5-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Werdehausen played a big role in helping Blair Oaks pull away with Polowy off the score sheet.

Down 5-2, Werdehausen connected on consecutive shots to put Blair Oaks up 6-5, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Lady Falcons took an 8-5 lead after one quarter and eventually opened up a 22-9 advantage. A conventional three-point play from Werdehausen made it 15-7 and a pair of free throws made it 20-9. She scored nine points in the first half, as Blair Oaks led 22-11 at halftime.

The Lady Falcons’ biggest lead came at 33-15 on a 3-pointer from Amanda Rackers with 1:15 to go in the third quarter. Blair Oaks led 33-16 heading into the final stanza.

“We were up 17 and Lee didn’t even score yet,” Bernskoetter said. “We’re not just one dimensional.”

Polowy got into the scoring column on a drive with 4:59 to play to make it 35-21. Centralia was able to cut the deficit to 39-28 with 1:17 left but couldn’t get any closer.

Kailee Chitwood paced Centralia with 10 points, as the Lady Panthers shot just 10-for-47 (21 percent) from the floor.

Blair Oaks (24-2) plays second-seeded California for the district title at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Southern Boone, weather permitting.

“We get to play again and that’s the big thing,” Bernskoetter said. “We get out of here with a W. Did we struggle at times? Yes, we did. Centralia’s a good little ballclub. They scrapped and gave us everything they had.

“(It will be) another hard-fought battle (against California),” Bernskoetter said, referring to Blair Oaks’ two close wins over California this season. “It doesn’t make any difference what the records are. It’s always going to be a good battle.”

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