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Cooper leads Bluestem by Lady Mustangs

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Bluestem's Kristyn Cooper goes in for the runner against county rival Flinthills on Monday, Dec. 21 at Bluestem High School. Cooper scored 21 points in the 67-36 win over the Mustangs.

In Lauren Donner’s first game against her former school, it was Kirstyn Cooper who stole the show for the Lady Lions on Monday night. 

The Bluestem Lady Lions beat county-rival Flinthills 67-36 in each team’s final game before break as the Lady Lions head into the break 3-0. 

“We installed a new defense and played one tonight we had never done before,” Bluestem Head Coach Troy Babcock said. “I thought we did a good job of forcing turnovers tonight.”

Cooper was everywhere for Bluestem. Whether she was forcing turnovers or scoring buckets, her presence was known. She provided good ability that forced Flinthills into single coverage against Donner and Torrence Lovesee.

“Her basketball IQ is very high,” Babcock said. “She may not be the most athletic or most talented but she doesn’t make very many mistakes. She makes our team much better.”

After Flinthills’ Madison Alvord cut the deficit to six, it was Donner who responded with her first three to push it to 25-16. Then, Cooper had a layup on a nice pass to the weakside for the easy layup. 

“I Just go out and try to find my teammates,” Cooper said. “

The Lady Lions pulled up their first double digit lead when Donner scored on a jumper to make it 31-20. 

Lovesee and Cooper would each score before the break to give the Lady Lions the 34-20 lead at the break. 

Donner, who transferred from Flinthills at the end of last basketball season, was an all-county selection for the Mustangs. She’s been a driving force to the Lady Lions being 3-0. Her family had already made the move, making her immediately eligible. 

“I really thought they would try to guard me a little bit more physical than they did,” Donner said. “It was a little awkward at first but that went away.”

Donner and Cooper opened the second half by hitting threes and it was off to the races for the Lady Lions. 

Cooper hit another three with 2:40 to go in the third to give the Lady Lions a 49-22 lead and capping off a 15-2 run in the quarter. 

Hailey Hall of Flinthills responded with a three to end the run.

Cooper finished with 21 points and Lovesee had 11 points for the Lady Lions. 

Defensively, the Lady Lions forced 30 turnovers and held the Lady Mustangs to only 32.5 percent shooting on the night.

Alvord led Flinthills with 16 points, nine of those came in the first half. Hall had nine as well.

Bluestem will start the spring semester out as they travel to West Elk on Friday, Jan. 8. 

Flinthills will host Wichita Classical in their first game back, also on Jan. 8.

"We just have to make sure we come back in shape," Cooper said. 

Flinthills;9;11;5;11;-36

Bluestem;14;20;22;11;-67

FLINTHILLS: FG 14/43 (32.5%) 3PT 3/9 (33.3%) FT 5/11 (45.5%) TO 30

BLUESTEM: FG 28/71 (39.4%) 3PT 7/21 (33.3%) FT 4/6 (66.7%) TO 24

Scoring:

FLINTHLLS: Alvord 6 (0) 4-7 16, Hall 0 (3) 0-0 9, Girty 2 (0) 0-0 4, Carney 2 (0) 0-2 4, Lakin 1 (0) 0-0 2, Holcomb 0 (0) 1-2 1. TOTALS: 11 (3) 5-11 36.

BLUESTEM: Donner 5 (4) 0-0 22, Cooper 7 (2) 1-2 21, Tor. Lovesee 4 (0) 3-4 11, Witty 4 (0) 0-0 8, Potter 0 (1) 0-0 3, Tay. Lovesee 1 (0) 0-0 2. TOTALS:  21 (7) 4-6 67.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.