Overland Park It seems no one is safe from the injury bug on this year’s Lawrence High girls basketball team.
Not even during tumbling class.
“We were getting ready to do our routine, and I was running, and I just sprained my ankle,” Lions senior Taylor Bird said. “Everybody the whole entire day was saying, ‘Don’t get hurt, don’t get hurt.’ I think they all jinxed me. It popped maybe twice. It was painful.”
Fortunately for the Lions, Bird’s game day injury wasn’t nearly as serious as the status of some of her teammates. She played Thursday afternoon, scoring 26 points in Lawrence’s 73-19 destruction of Wyandotte High in the opening round of the Saints Classic at Overland Park Aquinas.
Bird is one of the lucky ones. LHS entered its season knowing forward Tania Jackson was out for the season with an ACL tear, and the team’s other main post player, Shelby Miller, would be gone until January with an ACL and meniscus injury. Then came word that guard Cassie Potter fractured her left elbow during the team’s first game against Washburn Rural on Friday night. She likely won’t return until at least the start of conference play.
That leaves Bird as one of the most integral components to the Lions’ offense. On Thursday, she scored 12 points in the first quarter, crumbling Wyandotte’s sagging 2-3 zone. She also came up with five steals in the first eight minutes, as Lawrence relentlessly attacked Wyandotte with a full-court press on defense. By quarter’s end, the Lions led, 24-4.
“Taylor has had the ball in her hands a lot,” LHS coach Kristin Mallory said. “Probably more as a sophomore than as a junior because every kid on the floor could really shoot it. She’s back in a role that she’s probably a little bit more comfortable with being that go-to.”
Bird took 15 shots in the first half and finished the game 10-for-20, including swishing a buzzer-beating three from five feet beyond the arc to end the third quarter.
“I was just open,” Bird said of her day. “I didn’t want to give up open shots. You miss every shot you don’t take.”
Bird, who also contributed seven steals and seven rebounds, certainly didn’t do it alone, though.
LHS juniors Haley Parker and Jasmyn Turner each scored 17 points. Turner added 11 rebounds for a double-double, and April Miller brought down seven boards.
Bird, Parker and Turner all made putting the ball in the hoop appear quite easy on Thursday against the hapless Bulldogs.
“We were making shots like crazy,” said Turner, whose team buried 31 of its 73 attempts. “During one time in the game, I didn’t even feel like I should go in and rebound anymore because everyone was making their shots.”
Wyandotte had two players score all its points. Delisa Randle led the Bulldogs with 10 points on 3-of-25 shooting.
The Bulldogs misfired on nearly every attempt, finishing the afternoon 6-for-42 (14.3 percent). Wyandotte never scored more than six points in a quarter.