PRAIRIE VILLAGE Susan Duran couldn't envision a better assignment than the one she was given Thursday night.
Duran, a Lawrence High senior and fill-in starting guard for the injured Jill Oelschlager, didn't score a basket in the Lions' 41-32 basketball victory over Shawnee Mission East at the Lancers' gym. Duran didn't even put up a shot.
Instead, she concentrated on defense after being assigned to guard SM East's Kristy Brown in the Lions' box-and-one defense. Duran, spelled by Kristina Johnson and Julie Butler, held Brown to eight-of-19 shooting, and Jennifer Trapp scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Lions to victory in their first game after winter break.
"I like to play defense," Duran said. "I don't like playing offense. Defense is more exciting. You can be more aggressive."
LHS OPENED in its usual zone, and Brown hit four of seven shots, scoring eight of the Lancers' 10 points in their 10-6 opening quarter.
Lawrence then switched to the box-and-one, a gimmick defense in which one player guards another man-to-man and the other four players play a 2-2 zone. Brown hit just four of 11 shots the rest of the game.
"I think it worked really well," Duran said. "My teammates talked to me and told me where the picks were. If they didn't do that, it wouldn't have worked. It was a team effort. I thought it was fun."
Trapp, a 6-foot junior center, scored 10 points in the second quarter, nine in a decisive 13-6 run that gave LHS a 20-16 lead with 2:53 left before halftime. The Lions never trailed thereafter.
Trapp said she drew motivation from the Lions' 50-44 loss to Olathe South on Dec. 16. In that game, Trapp committed an intentional foul that stalled a late LHS surge.
"I THINK that did have some effect," Trapp said. "I got some more confidence tonight. I finally got some points."
Lawrence coach Gary Hammer said he knew those points would come.
"That's what Jennifer can do," he said. "The first two weeks in practice, she was the most improved from last year. Tonight was a good example of how she played those first few weeks. That's the type of game she can put up on a regular basis. I think she's one of the best centers in the league."
Hammer credited assistant coach Paul Tinder with the box-and-one scheme.
"Coach Tinder mentioned it to me," Hammer said. "Kristy Brown is a great shooter. We thought we'd try something different, and it worked great. It took them out of their regular offense, and it took them a lot of time to get used to it. Susan Duran did a great job guarding her."
BROWN FINISHED with 20 points for SM East (0-6). LHS forward Megan Kampschroeder scored a season-high 14 points.
The Lions, now 3-1 overall, 1-1 in the Sunflower League, will host defending Class 6A state champion Topeka Seaman on Monday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30, following the junior varsity game at 6.
In Thursday's JV game, the Tinder-led Lions improved to 4-0 with a 34-29 victory over the Lancers. Kathy O'Konski scored 11 points for Lawrence.
LAWRENCE 41, SM EAST 32 LAWRENCE (41)
Lindsay Lawton 1-5 0-0 2, Kristina Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Julie Neuschafer 1-8 1-6 3, Julie Butler 1-2 0-0 2, Jennifer Trapp 7-11 6-8 20, Megan Kampschroeder 4-14 6-6 14, Kathy O'Konski 0-1 0-0 0, Susan Duran 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 13-20 41. SM EAST (32)
Kristy Brown 8-19 4-4 20, Marcie Johnson 2-7 0-0 4, Liz Guastello 2-5 0-0 4, Marla McKinney 1-6 0-0 2, Jennifer Rushton 0-1 0-0 0, Clare Beckerman 0-3 2-3 2, Marcie McKinney 0-1 0-0 0, Kerri Graunke 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 13-44 6-7 32. Lawrence
FJ SM East
Three-point goals Lawrence 0-2 (Lawton 0-2); SM East 0-5 (Marla McKinney 0-1, Marcie McKinney 0-1, Graunke 0-1, Brown 0-2). Total fouls Lawrence 10, SM East 15. Fouled out M. Johnson, SM East. Turnovers Lawrence 15, SM East 14.