LHS girls surrender early lead in 60-27 loss to Olathe South
OLATHE — The Lawrence High girls basketball team traded punches for much of the first quarter Tuesday at Olathe South, but the Falcons overwhelmed the Lions in the quarter’s closing minutes to set the stage for a 60-27 loss.
It took all of six seconds for Olathe South (8-5, 4-2 Sunflower League) to get on the scoreboard as Lawrence High (5-8, 1-4) opened its first Sunflower League contest in two weeks. On the opening tip, Lawrence junior Ozi Ajekwu smacked the ball straight into the hands of Olathe South sophomore Raegan Halliday, who scored a layup moments later.
The Lions, who suffered a pair of 30-point defeats at the Lady Firebirds Winter Classic last weekend, didn’t go away quietly. LHS freshman Serenity Keo evened the score with a basket on the ensuing possession.
LHS senior Ella Stewart then drained a triple off an assist by freshman Amaya Marshall to give the Lions a 5-4 advantage at the 6:10 mark. Shortly after, Marshall made her own 3-pointer off an assist by Keo to double up the Falcons with an early 8-4 lead. Keo eventually drilled a mid-range jumper to give LHS a 10-6 lead.
“I liked that we were sharing the ball and shooting with confidence,” LHS coach Jeff Dickson said. “I thought that was one of the best stretches that we have had in the first quarter all year, (and it came) on the road in a place that Lawrence High hasn’t won in a really long time. I felt really good about it.”
The Falcons evened up the score at 10-10 with 1:41 left to play in the first quarter, and Dickson addressed the Lions during a 30-second timeout.
“When we have those instances in the season, we tend to pull apart a little bit,” Dickson said. “I wanted them to do the opposite and pull together. I wanted to challenge them to do that, at least on the defensive end. I think we got some growth out of that.”
However the Olathe South surge turned into a decisive 11-1 run over the final 2:30 of opening period as the Falcons overwhelmed the Lions in the frontcourt, with Ajekwu on the bench.
Olathe South senior Dani Winslow (6-foot-0) and junior T’Yonne Duncan (6-foot-1) fueled the run with their play in the paint, helping the Falcons carry a 17-11 lead into the second quarter. Olathe South forced seven turnovers in the first period.
“As good teams do, they put on a run of their own,” Dickson said. “We got down on ourselves a little bit on the court.”
Olathe South removed any doubt about the outcome with a 20-point outburst in the second quarter, leading to a 37-15 advantage for the hosts at halftime. The Lions had some positive moments in the second half, but Lawrence High ended up with its fourth loss in the last five games.
“I thought we showed a lot of toughness on the road as a young team,” Dickson said. “I think we have some breakthrough wins coming before the season is over, if we continue to work the way we have been working.”
Marshall led the team with 8 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers. Ajekwu added 6 points and sophomore Layla Harjo finished with 5 points. Winslow led the Falcons with a game-high 14 points on 4-of-19 shooting from the floor.
LHS will travel to Shawnee Mission Northwest on Friday.
Amaya Marshall 3-8 0-2 8, Ella Stewart 1-4 0-0 3, Layla Harjo 2-8 0-0 5, Serenity Keo 2-6 0-0 4, Ozi Ajekwu 3-5 0-1 6, Paiden Bell 0-2 0-0 0, Hailey Ramirez 0-1 1-1 1, Geme Ajekwu 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 11-35 1-4 27.
OLATHE SOUTH (60)
Sophie Reed 2-7 0-2 5, Mandy Truitt 2-6 4-8 8, Raegan Halliday 2-7 0-0 4, Avery Halliday 1-7 4-4 6, Dani Winslow 4-19 5-8 14, T’Yonne Duncan 4-9 0-1 8, Reagan Ponzer 1-6 0-0 3, Emma Knappenberger 3-6 0-1 7, Alison Crigger 1-1 2-2 5. Totals: 20-68 15-26 60.
Lawrence 11 4 10 2 — 27
Olathe S 17 20 12 11 — 60
Three-point goals: LHS 4-14 (Marshall 2, Stewart, Harjo); OS 5-17 (Reed, Winslow, Ponzer, Knappenberger, Crigger). Turnovers: LHS 23; OS 9. Fouled out: None.