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Incarnate Word wins shootout in Kentucky, Webster Winter Challenge

By: Warren Mayes

The Incarnate Word Red Knights keep rolling along.

The Incarnate Word Academy Red Knights won the recent Webster Winter Challenge for the seventh time.

The two-time defending Class 4 state champion Red Knights went to Louisville, Kentucky, and won two games against tough opponents. Then Incarnate Word won the the 11th annual Webster Winter Challenge girls basketball tournament again.

Incarnate Word (19-1) won the tournament for the seventh time in 11 years.

They did it all without the services of 6-foot-4 senior center Rickie Woltman. She has missed play for the past two weeks because of a concussion.

“It happened in practice,” Incarnate coach Dan Rolfes said. “She got hit in the head. We don’t know when she’ll be cleared to be back. Our younger kids are stepping up.

“For sure, it’s hard for Rickie. She’s a senior. We went to Louisville and played two good teams and she missed out on that. She missed out on the Webster tournAment. It’s her last go around so we hope to get her back and she can play.”

In Louisville, the Red Knights played in the Raatz Fence Shootout. It was held at Mercy County High School.

“We go there every year. We get really good competition,” Rolfes said. “There were 25 to 30 college coaches watching all the teams. People who do ranking services for ESPN nd USA Today were there. Playing there helps keep our program on the radar.”

Incarnate Word defeated Elizabethtown 71-57 and Louisville Eastern 70-61.

“We played really well in both games,” Rolfes said. “Rickie was hurt the day before we left to there. It was good to see some other kids step up. When Rickie comes back, those kids will have gotten some valuable experience.”

The Webster Winter Challenge is a good tournament with a good field, Rolfes said.

“Everybody loves this event. We love the gymnasium and the atmosphere,” Rolfes said. “It’s a fun environment to play in. We get good competition.”

The Red Knights opened with 70-36 win over Cor Jesu.

“We started out a little slow,” Rolfes said. “We had a really good third quarter to stretch it out. Everyone got into the game and played. That’s good especially because it gives the young guys some experience.”

Incarnate Word met Rock Bridge in semifinal and won 62-48.

“Rock Bridge is always extremely well coached and well prepared,” Rolfes said. “They have a real solid team. It was one of those where we probably had a 20-point lead or so going into the fourth quarter so we got to give a lot of bench kids some playing time.”

Incarnate Word faced Ladue in title game. Earlier in the season, the Red Knights played at Ladue and scored a 78-57 victory.

This time, the Red Knights rolled to a 76-35 win.

“Ladue has a good team,” Rolfes said. “I was really pleased with our effort. They came ready to play. We like to play for a championship. We scored 51 points in the first half. That’s a season high for us.

“When that happens, you just hope they don’t stop working. We talk about playing the game and not playing the score.”

Senior guard Marisa Warren led Incarnate Word with 20 points in the championship game. She she was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Warren will play in college at De Paul.

Three Incarnate Word Academy Red Knights were named to the all-tournament team in the Webster Winter Challenge. They are from left, senior guard Kiki Britzmann, junior guard Kate Rolfes and senior guard Marisa Warren.

Junior guard Kate Rolfes and senior guard Kiki Britzmann were also named to the the all-tournament team.

“Marisa deserved to be the tourney MVP,” Rolfes said. “She is just a floor general for us at the point guard position. She did a great job getting everybody involved. She’s a kid who runs the show for us. She’s going to De Paul and that’s one of the top programs in the country. She’s made all tourney team every time this year in the tournaments we’ve played.”

Rolfes’ daughter, Kate, played well. She scored 13 points in the title game.

“She’s a 3-point shooter. She shot the ball really well,” Rolfes said. “It was good having someone shoot from the outside. I was glad to see her get recognized. She gets overshadowed.”

Rolfes said said senior guard Drew Kell played well in the tournament.

“She short the ball really well,” Rolfes said.

It was the seventh tourney title in 11 years in the Webster tournament for the Red Knights.

“We’ve had a good run at Webster,” Rolfes said. “That’s why we keep coming back.”

Incarnate Word has a 6 p.m. home Thursday (Feb. 8) against Visitation. On Monday, the Red Knights will host Parkway North.

“We got a lot of good games in the month of February,” Rolfes said. “We’re trying to fine tune things and keep going.”

The girls are using their lone loss in Hawaii as motivation. Incarnate lost 63-49 to Pinewood California back in December.

“They can reflect back on that game and see the areas where we made mistakes and need to improve on,” Rolfes said. “It wasn’t like we lost to a bad team. I like for us to be challenged.”

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