Flyer girls’ basketball wins Kirkwood tourney


For the Call

At the end of the 2003-’04 season, Lind-bergh High girls’ basketball coach Bill Thoele intended to strengthen his team’s schedule.

He did just that, entering his Flyers in the Kirkwood Invitational, which not only included a tough Kirkwood team but also Nerinx Hall, which reached the state quarterfinals in 2003 and the state sectional last season.

Lindbergh handed Nerinx Hall a 62-54 defeat in the first round, providing a huge boost to the Flyers’ confidence as they win on to take the tournament crown.

“One of the things we wanted to do was upgrade our schedule,” Thoele said. “I thought that we could compete with them (Nerinx Hall) and once the game started, we knew that we could compete with them.”

Lindbergh’s Amy Hake led all scorers with 17 points, five steals, five assists and four rebounds. The senior guard has averaged 17.8 points per game this season with 4.8 rebounds per game. She also leads the Flyers with 22 steals.

“Amy can do it all on the court,” Thoele said. “She’s just an all around good player and I thought that she was probably one of the best players in the tournament.”

Senior forward Paula Smith also scored in double figures with an 11-point effort that included seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot. She is averaging 7.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

“You almost expect those kind of numbers from Paula,” Thoele said. “She goes out there and plays hard and we would be hard-pressed to go into a game without her.”

The Flyers pulled out a 50-46 win over host Kirkwood in the tournament semifinal as Hake scored 28 points while Smith racked up 12 points in the win.

“It was one of the best games that I’ve seen Amy play,” Thoele said. “It was a game where we needed for Amy to step it up and she did.”

Then Lindbergh captured the tournament title Friday with a 45-28 thumping of Villa Duchesne in the championship game.

“I was a little concerned going into that game because they have some height on us,” Thoele explained. “We ended up having control throughout the whole game and the girls played with a lot of confidence.”

Courtney Kiel led the Flyers in scoring with 10 points, two rebounds and one assist. The junior forward has seen limited action this season and is averaging five points and 1.5 rebounds per game this season.

“We’ve got her out on the wing because she’s quick with the ball,” Thoele said. “She had been out a while with a sprained ankle. I think that she’s going to be a big part of this year’s team.”

The Flyers battle another tough opponent this week when Hazelwood West comes to town at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Wildcats are 3-0 and have three players that score in double figures — junior forward Erica Costella with 12.3 points per game, junior guard Dana Guthrie with 11.3 points per game and senior forward Erica Smith with 10 points per game.

“Last year we were winning by seven and couldn’t finish them off,” Thoele said. “I think that it’s going to be a very close game.”