Lawrence High girls overwhelm JC Harmon throughout 62-12 victory
photo by: Chris Duderstadt
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It would have been easy for Lawrence High girls basketball coach Jeff Dickson to continue to run up the score up after leading JC Harmon by 32 points at halftime.
With mostly reserves and some junior varsity players during the second half, Lawrence (7-4) took advantage of 20 turnovers to go home with a 62-12 win.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of sharing the ball,” Dickson said. “I think we played pretty good defense, we didn’t transition back defensively very well and Harmon played very hard, they have a young team and we’re really respectful of that group.”
For as lopsided as the scoreboard ended up being, the Lions actually trailed by 4 after about two minutes of play.
“It was a good wake up call for us,” Dickson said.
Despite the Lions starting five outsizing nearly all of the Hawks on the floor, senior Chisom Ajekwu was not having her luck with the rim. Ajekwu, a KU signee, was 7 of 17 in the first quarter with 14 points, missing a pair of free throws as well.
Most of Ajekwu’s point production came off second-chance shots, finishing with nine buckets on a game-high 20 shots. She did not see the floor in the second half with the game out of reach. Her sister, Ozi, scored 6 points on five shots playing in the post.
Defensively, the Lions held the Hawks to three shots after the early deficit in the opening period, and then added a scoreless second quarter. Sammy Williams had a pair of the Lions’ four first-half blocks, with Ajekwu and Ella Stewart each tallying a swat of their own.
Down the stretch of the second quarter, senior Hannah Stewart missed a few 3-point attempts. Her second shot was taken at NBA range and her third was a step-back triple attempt. Her quarter prompted Dickson to sarcastically mistake her name for Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden as she walked over to the bench.
Thirteen different Lions managed to take a shot, with 10 different athletes scoring at least a basket. Addison Gish, Paiden Bell and Evann Seratte combined for 10 points on 5 of 6 shots between them as the guards continued to run the offense well.
Dickson credited sophomore Jocelyn Wilson’s ability to run the offense, and junior Sophie DeWitt for being the team’s primary ball handler to create scoring opportunities for many different players.
Freshman Layla Harjo became the Lions’ first choice outside the arc in place of Stewart, and she rose up to the challenge. With a pair of triples and a basket, Harjo led the game in 3-pointers and finished with 8 points.
After the game, Harjo said her goal is usually just to score once.
“If I don’t reach (my goal), I am really hard on myself,” Harjo said. “Basketball is my main sport, so I might as well go for it all the time.”
Dickson said he wasn’t surprised by any of the Lions athletes performances in the second half, including Harjo.
“She’s a very talented freshman,” Dickson said. “It’s good to see her get in the flow and take shots at the varsity level, because she’s definitely a varsity level player…I think she can be one of the best players in the state, (and) I think she’s one of the best freshman in the Sunflower League right now.”
Lawrence will play host to Shawnee Mission East at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Chisom Ajekwu 9-20 0-2 18, Hannah Stewart 0-6 0-0 0, Leslie Ostronic 2-3 0-0 4, Sammy Williams 3-3 2-2 8, Sophie DeWitt 2-5 0-0 5, Ella Stewart 1-4 1-2 3, Evann Seratte 1-1 0-0 2, Ozi Ajekwu 3-5 0-1 6, Layla Harjo 3-7 0-0 8, Addison Gish 2-2 0-3 4, I’yawa Brewer 0-1 0-0 0, Jayden Wilson 0-2 0-0 0, Jocelyn Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Lexi Dutcher 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Lamb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-62 3-12 62.
JC Harmon (12)
Dana Chavez 2-9 0-0 4, Moesha Hayes 1-5 1-4 3, Brianna Osuna 1-5 0-0 2, Jadah Clark 0-6 0-0 0, Kinley Nicholas-Estrada 0-2 0-2 0, Natalie Maldonado 0-4 1-2 1, Taylor McNeil 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 19-43 5-6 54.
Lawrence 20 17 18 7 – 62
JC Harmon 5 0 5 2 – 12
3-point goals: Lawrence 3-12 (Harjo 2, DeWitt); Harmon 0-7. Turnovers: Lawrence 6, Harmon 20. Fouled out: None.