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Archive for Friday, January 26, 2007

Sloppy in first minute, Lions roll in Capital City

January 26, 2007

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— Kristin Mallory leaped to her feet and called time.

Only 65 seconds had elapsed in Lawrence High's first-round Capital City Classic girls basketball game against Kansas City Wyandotte, and the Lions' coach was livid.

"Wyandotte had three straight offensive rebounds," Mallory said, "and I wanted to let them know that wasn't acceptable."

Message understood.

"I thought she did the right thing," said Taylor Bird, a 5-foot-10 sophomore who scored a career-high 28 points to pace the Lions to a 63-25 romp over the Bulldogs on Friday night in Topeka High's north gym.

Lawrence, the tourney's No. 3 seed, will meet No. 2-seed Blue Valley in a championship semifinal at 7:30 p.m. today in Topeka High's main gym.

"I think it will be a challenge," Mallory said of tonight's clash with the Tigers. "I know they're big and that we both have the same records (7-4)."

Mallory also knows the Lions will have to exhibit much better early resolve. K.C. Wyandotte (3-7) led 8-6 midway through the first quarter before the Lions rallied to take a 12-10 advantage at the first break.

"You've got to string together three good games," Mallory said. "An ugly victory isn't good enough."

Friday night could have been very, very ugly for the Lions if Bird hadn't brought her A-game.

The first-year varsity player was effective on stick-backs and drives to the basket, and she also drilled a trio of three-point goals.

"The lane was open a lot," Bird said of her offensive explosion, "and my teammates penetrated and kicked it out to me."

Bird made it look so easy that Mallory was stunned by the sophomore's point total.

"I had no idea she scored that many," the Lions' coach said. "She's really good on the offense boards. Also, the officials were really letting both teams play, and that played into her hands."

Bird was the only Lion to score in double figures, although her older sister Danielle, a 5-10 junior, had nine points. Senior Katelyn Hobbs added eight.

Abby Vestal, another senior, didn't score, but contributed six steals and six rebounds.

Wyandotte, plagued by poor shooting (24.4 percent) and 23 turnovers, faded badly in the last three quarters. The 'Dogs scored only two points in the last eight minutes.

Bird recorded 16 points in the first half as the Lions rolled to a 27-14 bulge. The Lawrence blew it open with a 21-point third quarter.

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