Missed free throws bite LHS girls basketball in OT loss to SMW

Lawrence High senior Talima Harjo (13) left, attempts a steal in the final seconds of overtime in the Lions' loss against Shawnee Mission West at LHS on Friday night.

Leading by six points in the middle of the fourth quarter against Shawnee Mission West on Friday, Lawrence High’s girls basketball team just couldn’t find a way to pull away.

It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities. Missed free throws piled up. The Lions gave up several offensive rebounds, which eventually cut into their lead and caught up to them in a 46-44 overtime loss at LHS.

Plus, SM West continued to hit key shots when needed.

Senior Megan Biehl drilled a 3-pointer from NBA range to tie the score with less than 20 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, sophomore Kierra Prim scored the game-winning layup with six seconds left.

Lawrence only made 5 of its 17 free throws, missing eight attempts in the final five minutes of regulation and the four-minute overtime.

“We had control of the game,” LHS coach Jeff Dickson said. “When we had a chance to spread it out and end the game, you have to step up and make free throws. People start fouling you to get back in the game and you don’t make them pay for it, then you come down and you give up second and third shots at the other end, you’re not going to beat too many people.”

The Lions (12-4, 6-3 in Sunflower League) built their lead when 6-foot-3 junior center Chisom Ajekwu, who was saddled with foul trouble for the majority of the first half, scored six straight points in the third quarter to start an 11-0 run. Junior point guard Hannah Stewart added a 3-pointer on a pass from junior Leslie Ostronic and senior E’lease Stafford made a layup.

Stewart (nine points, five rebounds, three steals) provided an offensive lift in the first half alongside junior 5-foot-11 forward Sammy Williams, who filled in for Ajekwu. Williams finished with 10 points and five rebounds, including the team’s final six points of the first half.

“I thought Sammy gave us a tremendous boost off the bench and really kept us in that game against a really good team,” Dickson said. “Hopefully that’s a step in the right direction for her and she will continue to improve.”

The Vikings (10-6, 6-3) forced overtime with a 10-4 run in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Four of their last seven points were scored after offensive rebounds by the speedy 5-foot-7 Prim, who recorded 15 points and 19 rebounds.

In overtime, SM West missed two of its first three free throws, but Prim grabbed an offensive rebound each time. That allowed the Vikings to run nearly two minutes off the clock before taking a lead with a pair of free throws by senior point guard Jheda Kennedy.

Stafford (12 points, 13 rebounds) tied the score on a layup through traffic with 23.7 seconds left before Prim responded with the game-winning score on the next possession.

“They out-hustled us,” Dickson said. “They out-toughed us. They were more focused, they were more disciplined, they played harder in those key moments.”

Shawnee Mission West (46)

Jheda Kennedy 3-16 3-8 10, Kayla Henrie 1-2 0-0 2, Khaliah Hines 3-7 2-2 8, Kierra Prim 5-15 5-8 15, Megan Biehl 2-9 0-1 5, Ashlyn Henrie 1-4 2-2 4, Aiden Moxness 1-1 0-0 2, Macie Lee 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-55 12-21 46.

Lawrence (44)

Hannah Stewart 3-6 0-0 9, Leslie Ostronic 0-6 0-3 0, Talima Harjo 1-9 0-1 3, E’lease Stafford 4-18 3-6 12, Chisom Ajekwu 5-11 0-1 10, Sammy Williams 4-5 2-6 10, Tyrin Cosey 0-0 0-0 0, Asia Goodwin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-55 5-17 44.

SM West 8 13 6 14 5 — 46

Lawrence 12 10 11 8 3 — 44

3-point goals: SM West 2-15 (Kennedy, Biehl); Lawrence 5-16 (Stewart 3, Harjo, Stafford). Fouled out: None. Turnovers: SM West 18, Lawrence 18.