Unsung scorers step up for LHS girls in 60-49 win

OVERLAND PARK — Scoreless for nearly the first four minutes of the second quarter Friday against Shawnee Mission South, Lawrence High’s girls basketball team looked for somebody to step up on offense.

Enter Hannah Stewart and Tyrin Cosey.

Not usually known for their scoring, Stewart drilled a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around five straight points from Cosey. With the offense flowing, the Lions rolled in the second half to a 60-49 victory, their eighth win in their last nine games.

“Everybody knows we run our offense through E’lease (Stafford) and Chisom (Ajekwu), but we encourage everyone to be a part of that feeling,” Lawrence coach Jeff Dickson said. “When we are starting to knock down outside shots and starting to look more a little more aggressive from the other spots, it just makes us that much harder to defend.”

In the second half, Ajekwu and Stafford combined for 26 points when the Lions (14-4, 8-3 in Sunflower League) were more successful passing the ball inside of the paint.

But the reason the Lions had a six-point lead at halftime was through some of their unheralded scorers. In an 8-2 run at the end of the second quarter, Cosey drilled a 3-pointer at the top of the key on a pass from Stafford. Then Cosey stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a layup.

On the next offensive possession, Cosey dished a pass to Stewart on the wing, who buried a triple.

“We’ve been working on shooting a lot in practice,” said the 5-foot-2 Stewart, who made 4 of 7 shots on her way to 12 points. “I just felt like I’ve become more confident and I was more relaxed this game, I feel like. My confidence was more up.”

Cosey, a 5-foot-3 senior, added: “I don’t shoot a lot. Coach always tells me to look for my shot and I did in that moment.”

Gaining more confidence, Stewart has started to transform into a more reliable scorer. Dickson said he believes she has the potential to average more than 10 points per game.

“I feel like I’ve never been much of a threat scoring,” Stewart said. “Now that I’ve started to shoot a little bit more, it’s kind of like, ‘OK, I want to become a threat.'”

Stafford, who struggled to find her shot in the first half, scored 11 points in the third quarter. Even when she wasn’t shooting well, she turned into a facilitator with five assists.

In the fourth quarter, Ajekwu became the go-to scoring option with her size advantage in the paint. Ajekwu finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

The only negative side of Lawrence’s offense in the second half was more troubles at the free-throw line. The Lions made 13 of their 25 attempts, allowing Shawnee Mission South (7-11, 5-6) to close within five points in the fourth quarter before Lawrence rallied with an 11-3 run.

Lawrence (60)

Hannah Stewart 4-7 0-0 12, Leslie Ostronic 1-1 2-2 5, Talima Harjo 1-8 0-0 2, E’lease Stafford 5-17 7-13 20, Chisom Ajekwu 6-13 3-7 15, Sammy Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Tyrin Cosey 2-6 1-4 6, Asia Goodwin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-53 13-25 60.

Shawnee Mission South (49)

Meredith Bunker 1-4 3-4 6, Elizabeth Crawford 5-9 2-2 13, Karoline Shelton 7-15 4-5 18, Robyn MacDonald 1-4 2-6 4, Aby Garber 2-7 0-0 6, Kristina Bermond 0-0 0-0 0, Lacy Whitcomb 1-4 0-0 2, Natalie Payne 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-44 11-17 49.

Lawrence 15 14 18 13 — 60

SM West 12 11 11 15 — 49

3-point goals: Lawrence 9-21 (Stewart 4, Stafford 3, Ostronic, Cosey); SM South 4-18 (Garber 2, Bunker, Crawford,). Fouled out: None. Turnovers: Lawrence 8, SM South 17.