‘Nobody roots for Goliath’: LHS’ Ajekwu overwhelms Gardner Edgerton in 57-30 win

photo by: Andrew Rosenthal

Senior center Chisom Ajekwu commands her defense in a game at Gardner Edgerton on January 4.

GARDNER – Five minutes into the Lawrence High School girls basketball team’s 57-30 win on Friday at Gardner Edgerton, one Trailblazers fan in the crowd had already had enough of seeing Chisom Ajekwu effortlessly score.

“Drive the lane to draw a foul on the big girl,” the Gardner Edgerton fan shouted.

It didn’t take very long for the Trailblazers to discover that Ajekwu is one of the best players in the Sunflower League. Early on and throughout the night, Ajekwu was dominating, and the Trailblazers could not create enough offense outside to find an answer.

LHS coach Jeff Dickson said Ajekwu’s performance brought to mind a famous quote from Wilt Chamberlain: “Nobody roots for Goliath.”

“She gets hit and fouled almost every single possession, rarely gets to the free throw line,” Dickson said. “She doesn’t flop, fall down or flail around, she just goes up and does her thing.”

If any player for the Trailblazers tried to take a shot even close to Lawrence’s standout frontcourt duo, Ajekwu and Sammy Williams, the shot would either be taken out of desperation or blocked. The pair swatted five balls in the first half alone.

“We played pretty good defense early on; we took them out of some of the things they were wanted to do,” Dickson said. “We had an obvious size advantage that we were able to take advantage of early to give us a cushion.”

But Dickson also felt like the experienced Lions should have performed better against a Trailblazers team that started two underclassmen.

“We kind of had a little bit of a lull and we let them close the gap a little bit, but I was proud of the way we stepped back up and finished the game the right way,” Dickson said.

Ajekwu scored 20 points on a perfect 10-of-10 shots, and senior point guard Hannah Stewart had an impressive 14 points on a solid 50 percent clip from the floor. Sophomore Ozi Ajekwu didn’t miss either, scoring 6 points on three shots.

Stewart led the Lions in 3-pointers, and Williams, Leslie Ostronic, Sophie DeWitt, and Layla Harjo also netted triples.

The Lions hadn’t played a game in over a month, and they said they used the hiatus to their advantage in practice.

“We shot a lot over break, and I think that just helped me just find a little bit more confidence in myself,” Stewart said. “I just feel like I had a little bit more confidence tonight.”

Lawrence travels to face Olathe East at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Lawrence (57)

Hannah Stewart 5-10 1-2 14, Leslie Ostronic 1-2 0-0 3, Sammy Williams 2-7 1-4 6, Sophie DeWitt 2-4 0-0 5, Chisom Ajekwu 10-10 0-0 20, Layla Harjo 1-5 0-0 3, Evan Serattle 0-1 0-0 0, Ozi Ajekwu 3-3 0-0 6, Paiden Bell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-42 2-6 57.

Gardner-Edgerton (30)

Kelby Wilson 1-2 1-2 3, Jaden Sprague 0-3 0-0 0, Kaelin Platt 1-3 3-4 5, Katie Whittley 1-3 0-0 2, Mia Vallery 3-9 2-2 8, Sadie Watkins 0-2 0-0 0, Madyson Beasley 0-0 0-0 0, Kaylah Newman 1-1 0-0 2, Trinity Taylor 2-5 0-2 5, Kierston Markos 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 11-31 7-12 31.

Lawrence 15 8 12 22 – 57

Gardner-Edgerton 6 7 6 11 – 30

3-point goals: Lawrence 7-15 (Stewart 3, Ostronic, Williams, DeWitt, Harjo); Gardner-Edgerton 1-9 (Taylor). Turnovers: Lawrence 5, Gardner-Edgerton 7.


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