Fatima head coach Matt Baker knows what senior Sammey Bunch means to this season's team.
Only a season removed from a 16-3 overall record and falling in a Class 2 district title game to St. James, the Lady Comets will have to rely on Bunch, mainly with the loss of key player Morgan Brandt, who now plays at Columbia College.
Fatima went 1-2 in Friday's Jamboree held at Helias. Their lone triumph was a 19-14 win against Blair Oaks in the final scrimmage of the evening.
"For us being a smaller school, it was nice to get out here and see more size," said Baker, who is in his first season at the helm. "For that, I really liked it."
The Lady Comets featured a 1-2-2 half-court trap to use their speed and try to make up for being undersized.
"We're going to run that this year," Baker said. "I still want to play a lot of man-to-man, but if you can make girls throw skip passes and long passes you can usually recover and not be too hurt. This Jeff City team is so big and strong, it was tought to (run the trap)."
Bunch accumulated 77 percent of the Lady Comets' offense with a 17-point performance in a 27-22 to Helias. The Lady Crusaders bounced out to a 9-1 start, and held on to a 11-6 lead at the break. Bunch scored 12 of her 17 in the second half of the 2-half, 6-minute quarter game.
"Everything we run we will run through her," Baker said.
In the second game, the Lady Comets couldn't overcome Jefferson City's 14-2 start, ultimately falling 32-11. Bunch missed three early attempts from beyond the arc, and was limited to five points, all in the first half.
"That's going to be an all year deal. It's going to be who is going to step up and score," Baker said. "Because teams are going to try and take (Bunch) away."
Baker was pleased with how his team responded after the first two losses.
"They battled more than anything," Baker said. "The first one was tough to lose because we were in it, and then to get blown out and still have some energy the last game of the night, that made me happy."
With Bunch not finding the nylon in the win, Grace Brune picked up where Bunch left off. The junior guard scored the game's first 7 points to put the Lady Comets out in front.
The Lady Falcons recovered to end the first frame 10-2 run to take an 11-10 advantage into the break.
Fatima would have the decisive run in the second half to claim the victory, a 10-4 stretch. Brune finished as the game's leading scorer with nine points, while Fatima's Erin Eichholz sank a 3-pointer and two free throws in the final two minutes to clinch the win. Bunch finished the night with 22 points, Brune had nine and Ally Bonnot and Erin Eicholz had five apiece.
Fatima opens the season Monday at Osage.
Additional coverage for this Jamboree:
Bunch stars for Fatima at Jamboree