Firebirds’ girls rout SM North
Free State High’s girls basketball team wasn’t expecting to see Shawnee Mission North hold the ball for long possessions on Tuesday, forcing the Firebirds to play defense for minutes at a time.
But once the Firebirds adjusted, they couldn’t be slowed down any longer in a 52-20 victory at FSHS.
After scoring just six points in the first quarter, getting only nine possessions on offense, the Firebirds scored on five straight possessions midway through the second quarter for a 15-2 lead.
The big change was Free State (12-3, ranked No. 7 in Class 6A) moved sophomore Madison Piper, the second-leading scorer in the Sunflower League, into the post, where she had more room to pass.
Piper dished assists in the second quarter to senior forward Sarah Coversup and senior forward Hannah Shoemaker for open layups, while Coversup added a putback for a bucket, and senior forward Adriana Jadlow added points at the free-throw line.
“It is ridiculous because we’re such a such a fast-paced team that when we have to slow it down, it makes all of us slow down, and that’s just not the way we play,” Shoemaker said. “It just felt like a really long game. It wasn’t exhausting. It was really, like, just mentally slow at the same time … but I think we handled it well.”
The Firebirds took a 17-4 lead into halftime and opened the third quarter with quick buckets by Jadlow, Shoemaker, Piper and junior guard Hannah Walter for a 10-3 run.
“We didn’t let them completely dictate what we did,” FSHS coach Bryan Duncan said. “So I think the key was patience. We knew at some point we’d hit a couple of runs and they would still have a hard time scoring.”
The Indians (4-11) did their best to force FSHS forwards to guard the ball on the perimeter, but Jadlow wasn’t afraid to double team, which helped for turnovers.
Shoemaker, who came off the bench to score six points and grab seven rebounds, also didn’t back down from leaving her usual spot in the low post.
“We thought she was the most important player in the game tonight,” Duncan said of Shoemaker. “She was the steadiest player. We thought she had a great game.”
In the fourth quarter, Piper scored seven of her game-high 12 points. She also added five assists and four rebounds.
Once the bench was emptied, sophomore Sophia Jadlow scored on a layup, freshman Jaelyn McKay knocked down a three-pointer, freshman Erin Cushing hit two free throws and freshman Molly Murray drilled a three right before the buzzer, which brought the FSHS bench out on the court to celebrate with her.
“We did a good job of just playing in our roles,” Adriana Jadlow said, “and just not getting frazzled and staying calm.”
The Firebirds will welcome third-ranked Olathe South to FSHS at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
FREE STATE (52)
Morgan Gantz 0-2 1-2 1, Adriana Jadlow 3-8 5-6 11, Madison Piper 5-10 7-8 17, Hannah Walter 1-1 1-2 3, Sarah Coversup 2-3 0-0 4, Hannah Shoemaker 3-3 0-0 6, Jaelyn McKay 1-1 0-0 3, Erin Cushing 0-1 2-2 2, Sophia Jadlow 1-2 0-0 2, Molly Murray 1-1 0-0 3, Caroline Patton 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 17-33 16-22 52.
SHAWNEE MISSION NORTH (20)
Jazmin Williams 2-6 0-0 4, Shelbye Sweet 0-4 0-0 0, Lexi Epperheimer 1-7 0-3 2, Katlyn Hughes 1-4 0-0 3, Maddy Wood 1-2 0-0 2, Jolee Williams 0-5 0-0 0, Sissy Hobson 2-11 0-0 6, Jade Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Danasia Jones 1-1 1-3 3. Totals 8-41 1-6 20.
SM North 0 4 5 11 — 20
Free State 6 11 15 20 — 52
Three-point field goals: Free State 2-7 (McKay, Murray); SM North 3-14 (Hobson 2, Hughes). Fouled out: Wood. Turnovers: Free State 12, SM North 9.