Lions dial up intensity, thrash Harmon, 65-5

Lawrence High senior Tyrin Cosey (20) steals the ball in a win against J.C. Harmon High Thursday night at LHS.

Talima Harjo wasn’t about to take this one for granted.

Long before the senior stepped foot on the floor in Lawrence High’s 65-5 blowout win over Harmon, Harjo experienced what it was like to be on the wrong end of a lopsided run — though it may not have been quite as decisive as the one on Thursday.

“We’ve been in the same boat, doing that, getting beat by 50 during my freshman year,” Harjo said, craning her neck to peer up at the scoreboard as she enjoyed a postgame snack of popcorn. “So I felt kind of bad to, like, beat them by 60 points. It’s crazy.”

While it wasn’t quite a 60-1 run — “35-1 … against Olathe South,” recalled coach Jeff Dickson — the run in Harjo’s freshman year was something that stuck with her, as well as the fourth-year head coach.

Yet, it wasn’t the 60-1 run on Thursday that was the biggest takeaway from the game, at least in the mind of Dickson, who said the Lions could take several positives from the contest.

Lawrence High junior Hannah Stewart puts up a shot in a win against JC Harmon on Thursday night at LHS.

“We’re not looking to embarrass anybody or make anybody feel bad,” Dickson said. “That’s a team that’s basically 70 percent freshmen playing 6A basketball against really tough competition, and they had a game last night.”

Regardless of the opponent, the 60-1 stretch was impressive from an LHS team that at one point in the third quarter had forced as may turnovers as Harmon missed shots. While the Lions (9-3) built their lead on the backs of E’lease Stafford (23 points, all in the first half) and Harjo (10), it was on that other side of the ball where they excelled.

The Lions forced 23 turnovers in the first half and held Harmon to 0-for-27 shooting until a long 2-point jumper by Tacy Rodriguez caromed off the backboard and dropped through the net with a minute to play in the third period.

Junior Hannah Stewart spearheaded the defensive effort, causing several of the Harmon turnovers with her active hands and a few hustle plays.

“Any team we’re playing, no matter who it is,” Stewart said, “we have to make sure we’re bringing the intensity that we’ll bring every single game.”

Lawrence High senior E’Lease Stafford shoots in a 3-point basket in a win against JC Harmon on Thursday night at LHS.

That intensity from Stewart (five points) and the other starters continued into the second half. They weren’t in the game at that point, mind you, but they continued to shout from the bench as each of their teammates checked in and got on the score sheet.

There were loud shouts from the bench when Sophie DeWitt scored five straight points in the third quarter. The shouting continued to grow through the end of the period, as Evann Seratte knocked down a 15-foot jumper from the baseline to put the Lions up, 62-3.

“It’s such a cool moment, because they always do the same (cheer) for us when we’re in,” said Stewart, adding that DeWitt (five points) and Paiden Bell (five) stood out to her on the evening. “Being able to do it for them is something that’s always special.”

And while it wasn’t a perfectly played game, with the Lions committing a handful of turnovers and scoring only three points in a running-clock fourth quarter, Dickson was pleased with the chance his team got to compete — and in some cases, learn.

“We’re trying to win basketball games, but there’s a lot more to it than that,” Dickson said. “You can say whatever you want in practice and you can do drills and stuff, but that’s a pretty big stage, even in a setting like that where it’s comfortable and the game’s not in jeopardy.

“I think for some kids, maybe it was a little eye-opening — that sometimes they watch our older kids play and think that looks easy. And you get out there in that setting, and it’s not as easy as maybe you think.”

Harmon (5)

Danna Chavez 0-4 0-0 0, Mikiya Watson 1-10 0-0 2, Brianna Osuna 0-2 0-0 0, MiQualla Reed 0-7 1-2 1, Viviana Ledzema 0-0 0-0 0, Cassandra Sanchez 0-6 0-0 0, Moesha Hayes 0-3 0-0 0, Mar’jai Conner 0-0 0-0 0, Hodan Hussein 0-0 0-0 0, Shai Robinson 0-6 0-0 0, Damarah Herrera 0-0 0-0 0, Tacy Rodriguez 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 2-40 1-2 5.

Lawrence (65)

Hannah Stewart 2-5 0-0 5, Leslie Ostronic 0-2 0-0 0, Talima Harjo 5-8 0-0 10, Tyrin Cosey 2-3 1-2 5, E’lease Stafford 10-15 1-1 23, Asia Goodwin 1-2 0-0 2, Sammy Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Ella Stewart 0-1 0-2 0, Sophie DeWitt 2-4 0-0 5, Oze Ajekwu 2-4 0-0 4, Evann Seratte 1-2 0-0 2, Paiden Bell 2-2 1-2 5, Carmen Windholz 0-0 2-2 2, Jordyn Garcia 0-0 0-0 0, Maleah Phommaseng 0-0 0-0 0, Analise Reeder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-50 5-9 65.

Harmon 0 1 2 2 — 5

Lawrence 23 20 19 3 — 65

Three-point goals: Harmon 0-19; Lawrence 4-12 (Stafford 2, Stewart, DeWitt 1). Fouled out: None. Turnovers: Harmon 24, Lawrence 13.