When Jaunelle Hamilton stays on the floor, she's a chore.
Hamilton avoided foul trouble and scored 17 points to spark Lawrence High's 44-31 Sunflower League girls basketball victory over Shawnee Mission North on Friday night in the LHS gym.
"It's nice to see her not have foul trouble," LHS coach Gary Hammer said.
Standing six feet and possessing uncommon leaping ability, Hamilton can dominate inside if opponents are unable to force her to the bench.
SM North couldn't do it, but give some credit to Hamilton. A junior, she's still learning.
"I know refs see tall girls easier," she said, "but I'm kind of used to it now."
Hamilton scored nine points when the Lions erupted and outscored the Indians, 13-2, during the last five minutes before halftime to grab a 22-10 lead.
All four of her baskets were off feeds from point guard Marjy Givens against SM North's zone defense.
"Marjy and I work real well together," Hamilton said. "We have eye contact and she does a good job of getting me the ball."
Lawrence didn't lose any momentum at the break. Hammer had the Lions in a fullcourt press and they forced three quick turnovers to expand their lead to an insurmountable 30-10.
"We're not really a pressing team," Hammer said, "but I think our press did some good things. It's so important to have a good opening of the second half."
SM North didn't fold. The Indians mounted a rally and cut the deficit in half 12 seconds into the final period. Hamilton and Kelly Borchardt answered with back-to-back inside baskets, however, and SM North never cut the Lions' advantage to single digits.
Lawrence won despite failing to score a point in the last 4:41. After a pair of Hamilton free throws gave the Lions a 44-26 lead, Hammer inserted inexperienced players and they turned the ball over on seven of the Lions' last nine possessions.
SM North shot 29 blanks. The Indians, now 2-7, made just 10 of 39 shots for 25.6 percent. Lawrence connected on 18 of 38 for 47.4 percent.
Lawrence also won the junior varsity game handily, outscoring the Indians, 51-35. Angela Shuckahosee had 14 points and Jocelyn Thurston 13 for the Lawrence JVs, now 5-4.
The LHS varsity boosted its record to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the Sunflower League. Next is a non-league home game Tuesday night against St. Joseph, Mo., Benton.