Falcons stifle FSHS girls
Free State High’s girls basketball team has experienced its fair share of stifling defenses this season, but Olathe South might have outdone them all Friday night at FSHS.
The Firebirds often see opponents game-plan to take away high-scoring sophomore guard Madison Piper, but the Falcons did that while shutting down all of her teammates as well in a 46-25 victory over the Firebirds.
“They were very well disciplined on defense,” Free State coach Bryan Duncan said of Class 6A’s No. 3-ranked team after his No. 7 Firebirds were held to a season-low point total, “and they had a great plan. They took away our two top scorers (Piper and senior Sarah Coversup), and we didn’t have a lot of other scoring opportunities.”
It took FSHS (11-4) the entire first half to match O-South’s 14-point first-quarter output, because the Firebirds kept turning the ball over in the second quarter, which they entered trailing by just five points.
The Falcons (12-3) relentlessly pressured the Firebirds’ guards, rendering them uncomfortable and willing to throw panicked, mistake-prone passes.
In the meantime, O-South worked quickly on offense and got the looks it wanted on the way to a 7-for-12 shooting effort in the second.
On the other end of the floor, Free State opened the quarter giving away the ball five times before even attempting a field goal.
Piper’s drive and floater in the paint with 4:10 left in the first half, which also drew a foul for a three-point play, proved to be the home team’s lone bucket in a troublesome second quarter that had the Firebirds in a 15-point hole by halftime.
Never this season, Duncan said, had FSHS had so many issues merely creating shot attempts. O-South’s assertive defense led to 18 Free State turnovers, and the Firebirds mustered eight field goals on 19 shot attempts.
“Over the course of the game, it ate us up,” Duncan said. “We knew we needed to get the ball to certain places off of certain plays to be successful, and we just were not able to get anywhere close to where the ball needed to be.”
Piper, often face-guarded and denied touches within half-court sets, hit five of her nine shots and scored 11 points, while Coversup did most of her damage at the free-throw line, hitting six of seven on a 10-point night.
Coversup made both of her field-goal attempts, and senior Adriana Jadlow converted one of six. No one else made a field goal for FSHS, which played without injured starting guards Cameryn Thomas and Jaycie Bishop.
Junior Falcons guard Kacey Kennett scored a game-high 15 points for O-South, which shot 20-for-42 and turned the ball over just eight times.
OLATHE SOUTH (46)
Kala Holder 3-6 0-0 6, Zoe Matje 1-7 0-0 2, Kacey Kennett 6-12 0-0 15, Dejanae Roebuck 3-5 0-0 6, Jordan Morton 4-5 1-1 10, Jordan Rehagen 1-2 0-0 2, Makayla Gooch 1-3 0-0 3, Nyia Duncan 0-1 0-0 0, Lindsay Bartels 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-42 1-1 46.
FREE STATE (25)
Morgan Gantz 0-0 0-0 0, Adriana Jadlow 1-6 1-3 3, Madison Piper 5-9 1-1 11, Hannah Walter 0-2 1-2 1, Sarah Coversup 2-2 6-7 10, Hannah Shoemaker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-19 9-13 25.
Olathe South 14 15 15 2 — 46
Free State 9 5 6 5 — 25
Three-point goals: O-South 5-12 (Kennett 3, Morton, Gooch); FSHS 0-2. Turnovers: O-South 8, FSHS 18.