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Tait's Take - Free State girls vs. Highland Park


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 Friday’s hard-fought, 48-36 victory by the Free State High girls basketball team in the semifinals of the 10th annual Firebird Winter Classic.

1. Ashli Hill, sr. — Dominant first half got the Firebirds going. Disappeared a little in the second half — in part because of foul trouble — but still finished with 12 points (on 6-of-10 shooting), 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. A great night, any way you slice it.

2. Chantay Caron, sr. — Off night shooting the ball — just 3 for 10 — but Caron more than made up for it by getting to the free throw line and knocking down her charity shots. Hit 11 of 13 free throws to finish with 17 points. Also added nine rebounds, three steals and an assist.

3. Wren Wiebe, sr. — Nine points for the second night in a row. The senior, three-year starter is enjoying the most confident stretch of her high school career.

4. Lynn Robinson, soph. — Did not make a single shot from the field but finished with five points at the free throw line and added two rebounds, two assists and two steals, proving that, even when she’s not shooting the ball well, Robinson is a key component of the Firebirds’ offense.

5. Nicole Humphrey, soph. — Played big minutes again — the Firebirds played just seven, compared with 11 for Highland Park — and again played her role perfectly. Hit one of two shots, dropped two assists and swiped one steal. Also played her trademark tough defense without fouling too often.

6. Jackie Garcia, soph. — Garcia’s toughness is incredible. For a girl her size she doesn’t mind getting pushed, pulled, bumped and banged around. In fact, she seems to prefer it. Didn’t fill up the stat sheet but contributed to the victory with her smarts and toughness.

7. Amarra Lee, sr. — A little overzealous on a couple of block attempts led to a couple of fouls. It also led to a couple of blocks. Lee did not attempt a shot in the game but did grab two rebounds and a steal.

Free State record: 9-4.
Next up: 2:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Wichita Northwest in championship game of Firebird Winter Classic.


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