Something about playing in Lawrence High’s gymnasium suits Scout Wiebe well. Unfortunately for the Lions, she plays for Free State.
The Firebirds junior had a breakout game at LHS in last year’s regular-season finale and gave an even better encore performance Friday night, with 19 points and 10 rebounds that led to a 59-40 FSHS victory in the City Showdown.
Wiebe, then a sophomore known more for her grit, scored 12 points in her previous rivalry game at Lawrence. She looked far more polished this time around, at times helping Free State (4-1) beat Lawrence’s pressure and traps and on other occasions showing off her great touch — Wiebe made seven of her 12 shots, including a three-pointer late in the second quarter that put the Lions in a 26-16 hole entering halftime.
“It’s a great environment,” Wiebe said after FSHS won its seventh straight in the showdown series, “so I was pretty excited.”
Firebirds coach Bryan Duncan likes what he has seen from the 5-foot-8 junior forward, because she still does dirty work inside and dives on the floor for loose balls, too.
“Scout’s played well for us all year, to be honest,” Duncan said. “Her motor’s always running.”
LHS (1-3) might have had a better chance to hang around, Lions coach Nick Wood said, if Wiebe hadn’t complimented senior guard Kennedy Kirkpatrick — 17 points, five rebounds, three steals — so well. Senior A’Liyah Rogers scored six points for FSHS, Chelsea Casady had five and Millie Shade added four off the bench.
“You can’t just key on Kennedy and not worry about anybody else,” Wood said. “(Scout’s) tough. She can shoot it from outside, take it inside and do a lot of intangible things.”
Duncan commended Lawrence for battling in defeat and said the Lions gave Free State troubles at times against the press. FSHS had 21 turnovers and really looked out of sorts in the first quarter, giving the ball away seven times.
The Lions appeared they might be primed to give their rivals a fight in the first eight minutes. Junior forward Kionna Coleman, who finished with 17 points and nine boards, scored five first-quarter points, Anna Wright drained one of her two three-pointers, senior forward Bri Anderson hit a jumper and sophomore point guard Marissa Pope hit two free throws as Lawrence trailed 14-12 entering the second quarter.
Said Coleman: “We were definitely giving it our all the first quarter, the first half, but we just got tired.”
LHS scored just four points (on 2-for-9 shooting) the rest of the first half — on a Kylie Seaman drive and a Coleman jumper. In the meantime, Kirkpatrick opened the second quarter on a personal 5-0 run and the Firebirds went 5-for-11, scoring 12 points and building their lead to 10 at the break.
The Lions’ shooting woes continued in the second half and they made just 13 of their 47 shots (28 percent) in the game.
Wood liked his team’s energy, even as Free State’s lead grew, but said the poor shooting made a comeback impossible.
“They’re too good offensively for us not to keep up,” Wood said.