Second-quarter shutout propels LHS girls to double-digit win
Not one of Shawnee Mission North’s 11 field goal attempts went through the net during an eight-minute second quarter.
Thanks to a stifling effort on the defensive end, Lawrence High’s girls basketball team closed out the 2019 portion of its schedule with a 56-40 win over Shawnee Mission North on Friday night at LHS. The Lions are now 3-2 entering winter break after a double-digit win in their Sunflower League opener.
“I thought we grew up a lot tonight against a scrappy team,” LHS head coach Jeff Dickson said. “I think it bodes well for our future.”
But the second-quarter shutout was necessary after a sluggish start by the Lions.
Junior Ozi Ajekwu spotted LHS a 2-0 lead on the second possession of the game with a layup via an assist by sophomore Layla Harjo. After that, Shawnee Mission North (0-2) took control of the contest with 5 quick points before leading by as many as 7 points during the opening period.
Trailing 12-9 entering the second period, Lawrence buckled down on the defensive end, and that was reflected on the scoreboard by halftime. The Indians went 0-for-11 in the second quarter, including an 0-of-10 effort from 3-point range. They committed three of their 10 turnovers in the second frame as well.
Over that span, Lawrence found more success on the offensive end. Freshman Serenity Keo started things off with a basket at the 6:17 mark. Harjo then drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key off an assist by freshman Hailey Ramirez, giving the hosts a 14-12 advantage.
Keo (free throw), Ajekwu (layup) and freshman Amaya Marshall (3-pointer) then closed off the 18-2 run, which transpired over the final 12 minutes of the first half, as Lawrence claimed a 23-12 lead by the intermission.
“They came out really hot and we have a tendency to hang our heads a bit when teams start hitting shots,” Dickson said. “I liked the way we dug down and were determined to stop them. That gave us a chance to get back in the game.”
The two teams then traded 3-pointers for much of the third quarter. Senior Sophie DeWitt, senior Ella Stewart and Harjo all hit a triple for the Lions during a 17-point outburst in the third period. The Indians netted five 3-pointers, four of which came courtesy of Summer Wieneke.
It forced Lawrence to stave off a late push by the visitors. Once Shawnee Mission North trimmed the deficit to 8 points, LHS responded with a set piece after a timeout to get a driving floater by DeWitt. Ajekwu also converted on four crucial baskets down the stretch to finish with a team-high 17 points.
Marshall, DeWitt and Keo all finished with 8 points for the Lions. Harjo and Stewart each added 6 points. About the only blemish in Lawrence’s latest win was a 11-for-30 effort from the free-throw line, which included a 1-of-10 clip to start the game.
“I thought we played hard the whole night,” Dickson said. “I thought we played like a team that wasn’t concerned with the score. We just battled and battled. I’m just really proud of the way the kids played.”
Lawrence will travel to Olathe West on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Amaya Marshall 2-7 3-9 8, Sophie DeWitt 3-7 1-4 8, Layla Harjo 2-9 0-0 6, Serenity Keo 2-7 4-6 8, Ozi Ajekwu 8-11 1-4 17, Ella Stewart 2-5 1-3 6, Paiden Bell 0-2 1-2 1, Hailey Ramirez 1-1 0-0 2, Lexi Dutcher 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 20-50 11-30 56.
SM NORTH (40)
Summer Wieneke 8-17 0-0 21, Kiara Williams 3-11 6-8 14, Allison Dowd 1-12 0-0 3, Keagan Stiers 1-4 0-2 2, Madison Koller 0-2 0-0 0, Siera Hoekstra 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 13-48 6-10 40.
SM North 12 0 16 12 — 40
Lawrence 9 14 17 16 — 56
3-point goals: LHS 5-21 (Marshall, DeWitt, Harjo 2, Stewart); SMN 8-33 (Wieneke 5, Williams 2, Dowd). Turnovers: LHS 8; SMN 10.