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Tait's Take - Free State girls vs. Topeka West


One of the more popular features of our Kansas University sports site, KUSports.com, is “The Keegan Ratings,” in which Journal-World Sports Editor Tom Keegan ranks the Jayhawks’ performances in both football and basketball after every game he attends. The individual rankings provide a great starting point for discussion and debate about the game that was in KU Sports.

With that in mind, the Journal-World would like to introduce “Tait’s Take,” a similar ranking system for the local high school games that High School Sports Editor Matt Tait attends each week. Because we can’t be in two places at once — or even three for that matter — this will not be a comprehensive look at athletes at both Lawrence High and Free State over the course of any given season. However, it will provide you with a deeper look at the most recent game and will give Tait an opportunity to include those tidbits about certain players that may not have made it into his story about the game.

This feature will fly fast and furious throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons. So stop by often. If you can’t find a game you’re interested in, click on The Dividing Line archives and search for it. Chances are it will be there.

Here’s another edition of Tait’s Take, which looks back at the top players from Thursday’s 53-16 run-away victory by the Free State High girls basketball team in the first round of the 10th annual Firebird Winter Classic.

1. Lynn Robinson, soph. — Robinson was everywhere for the Firebirds in this one. Knocked down 4 of 8 shots (for 8 points), dished two assists and swiped three steals. Her on-the-ball defensive pressure — which never let up — set the tone for the game and helped Free State race out to a 26-2 halftime advantage. The most impressive part of Robinson’s night — and the game — was her seven rebounds. Robinson, a tiny point guard, led all players in rebounding, simply because she had the attitude and desire to do so.

2. Chantay Caron, sr. — Led the Firebirds in scoring (18 points) in her first game back from a concussion. Hit 6 of 11 shots from the floor and all four free throws. You could see that she was still a little shy about going into the paint and banging with the big bodies. That showed in her overall stat line, but who can blame her. Still turned in an incredibly productive and efficient night.

3. Ashli Hill, sr. — Scored six of the team’s first 10 points and played with tenacity to get the Firebirds off to an insurmountable lead. Hit just one of her next five shots and missed a pair of free throws. But her four blocks and three assists more than made up for that.

4. Jackie Garcia, soph. — Went wild early on with a pair of steals and three assists in the first quarter. Finished without scoring, but got the start and played her role perfectly.

5. Wren Wiebe, sr. — Nice night shooting for Wiebe, inside and out. Knocked down the only trey she attempted and added three rebounds and two assists and two steals to a very productive all-around night.

6. Nicole Humphrey, soph. — Helped stretch the Topeka West defense with a confident three-pointer in the first half that made the score 21-0 Firebirds. Also showed a nice stroke at the free throw line, knocking down 2-of-2 in the second half. Only knock on Humphrey, an aggressive player by nature, is her propensity to stumble into foul trouble.

7. Amarra Lee, sr. — With a groin injury still lingering, Lee gave a pretty good effort. Hit a three-pointer at the first-half buzzer and grabbed three rebounds... both signs that she’s nearing 100 percent again.

8. Kylee Loneker, soph. — Turned in the kind of scrappy performance we’ve come to expect. Rarely does anything to hurt the team. Still could stand to at least look at the basket a little more fequently on offense. But, outside of that, there’s nothing to complain about with Loneker’s minutes.

9. Susan Wilson, sr. Senior reserve played meaningful minutes and looked like she had fun doing so. Missed the two shots she attempted, but played hard, recorded a steal and helped the FSHS offense’s flow.

10. Paige Rothwell, jr. Looked tentative for the most part except on one play where she caught the ball at the elbow and pulled up in stride for a jump shot that banked in. A nice play. Also chipped in with an assist.

Free State record: 8-4.
Next up: 6:30 p.m. Friday vs. Highland Park in 2nd round of Firebird Winter Classic.


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