Lawrence High’s girls basketball team showed some renewed urgency and energy to open the second half Tuesday night, but the Lions couldn’t maintain it in a 65-33 home loss to Leavenworth.
The Lions found themselves in an 18-point hole to open the third quarter after turning the ball over 13 times in the first half and hitting just three of their 12 second-quarter shots.
Coach Nick Wood thought Lawrence (2-10) might be poised for a run the way it challenged the Pioneers (8-5) in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Emma Kelly’s inbounds pass to open the half set up Anna Wright for a three-pointer. Within a minute, Wright fed Kionna Coleman for a bucket inside. Then, a little more than a minute later, Wright hit Coleman again and Lawrence trailed 34-21.
Following a jumper by Leavenworth sophomore Tashia Jones, Coleman passed to an open Jolana Shield for another Lawrence three-pointer, cutting the Pioneers’ lead to 12.
“We came out and gave ourselves an opportunity to be competitive in the third quarter,” Wood said after the team’s fourth loss in six days, “and then the wheels fell off.”
From that point on, Wood said the Lions didn’t take advantage of many opportunities. In fact, they made just two more field goals (both from senior Bri Anderson) the entire game.
Despite Lawrence’s hot start in the third, Leavenworth recovered quickly and pounded Lawrence with a 16-4 run, which began with the Pioneers converting five of six free-throw attempts. Soon after, their shots started falling. Jones scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the third and Leavenworth extended its lead to 54-29 entering the fourth quarter.
“Defensively, our transition, we weren’t getting matched up as well as we needed to, we weren’t rebounding like we needed to,” Wood said. “(The Pioneers) picked up their level of play, too.”
Lawrence’s first-half struggles on offense originated with turnovers against pressure, and made for a long night. Wood said opponents will continue to apply full-court pressure against the Lions until they prove they can handle it for an entire game.
“We’d either rush a shot, or pick up the ball and make a bad decision and turn it over,” Wood said.
Wright, who finished with five points and three assists, agreed.
“The whole game we were just discombobulated and kind of rushing everything,” she said.
The Pioneers did the opposite.
“They were pretty disciplined in running their stuff and not just taking the first look,” Wright added after Leavenworth went 26-for-50 from the floor.
Junior forward Coleman led Lawrence with eight points and six rebounds. Seniors Kylie Seaman and Anderson each scored seven.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Lions play host to Shawnee Mission East.