Overland Park Julie Neuschafer is reluctant to put herself in the same class as fellow Lawrence High front-liners Jennifer Trapp and Megan Kampschroeder.
After Friday night's performance, however, Neuschafer might have that classification thrust upon her. She scored a game-high 18 points in the No. 3-ranked Lions' 52-18 high school basketball rout of Shawnee Mission North at the Indians' gym.
"I'm not as good as Jennifer or Megan," Neuschafer said. "By playing with them, (opponents) let off me a little. I'm not as good a player, but I earned it tonight."
Neuschafer scored her season high by hitting five of six field goals and all eight free throws. Front court-partner Trapp added 13 points, while Kampschroeder was held to a season-low two points.
"I was getting the ball inside," Neuschafer said. "I appreciate getting it inside."
THE LIONS, taking advantage of a sizeable height advantage, jumped to a 13-2 lead and were never challenged thereafter. LHS led, 17-4, in the first quarter and 31-10 at the half.
"We got killed," SM North coach Lyle Wingate said. "We missed some easy opportunities early and loss our confidence. It was downhill from there. A lot of that was due to Lawrence playing pretty well. We were just overmatched."
The Indians shot a chilly 17.5 percent from the floor, and their full-court press and mix-it-up defense forced just eight LHS turnovers.
"Shooting's been a problem all year," Wingate said. "And if you don't score, you can't press very well. We weren't able to do what we do best, and that's hustle and scrap and force turnovers off the press. We've been forcing people into 25 to 30 turnovers a game."
On Friday the Indians had it done unto them, being harried into 24 turnovers.
"I THOUGHT we played well," said Lawrence point guard Lindsay Lawton. "We broke the press well and got a lot of fast-break plays and held on to the ball."
LHS coach Gary Hammer said he was surprised by the Lions' execution. It had been eight days since their last game, and they didn't have school Friday since LHS just concluded finals.
Hammer took action to keep off the cobwebs.
"I didn't want them just laying around today, have them sleep till 12 and watch TV all day," he said. "So I had 'em come in at 11:30 for 45 minutes. I wanted to get them thinking basketball and get 'em up. I was afraid they'd be sluggish today."
THE LIONS shot 38 percent from the field and hit 14 of 19 free throws.
LHS, now 6-1 overall, 3-1 in the Sunflower League, will travel Tuesday to Kansas City Harmon, then return home Thursday to play host to a non-league game with Leavenworth.
The Indians fell to 5-4 and 1-3.
Lawrence's junior varsity remained undefeated after seven games with a 50-16 trouncing of SM North. Tracie Lee scored 16 points and Jamie Smith added 10 for the Lions.