Lawrence High girls fall to Olathe East for 4th consecutive loss

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Lawrence High junior Ozi Ajekwu (23) and Olathe East's Molly Kaemmer (30) go after a loose ball during a game against Olathe East Friday night at LHS on Feb. 14, 2020.

A hot start by the Lawrence High girls basketball team proved to be too good to be true.

Lawrence raced out to a 5-2 advantage within the first 90 seconds of the contest, but Olathe East responded by scoring 20 unanswered points to effectively end any chance of an upset. The Hawks (No. 9 in Class 6A) eventually coasted to a 48-28 victory over the Lions on Friday night at LHS.

The Lions (5-11, 1-7 Sunflower League) have now dropped four games in a row, with four games remaining in the regular season.

“I don’t know that anything went wrong; I thought we played pretty good defense,” LHS head coach Jeff Dickson said. “They literally just didn’t miss shots. I was proud of the way we fought and hung in the whole game. Two months ago, that turns into a 40-point loss. Tonight, we made it close and had a chance.”

But it was Lawrence that jumped in front out of the gate, which illustrated the potential of this young team.

There was great ball movement on the first three possessions of the game, getting LHS favorable looks early on. Sophomore Layla Harjo threaded a perfect pass to junior Ozi Ajekwu, who netted a layup for the team’s first basket of the night.

One possession later, freshman Hailey Ramirez found freshman Amaya Marshall open along the perimeter. Marshall drilled the 3-pointer to give LHS an early 5-2 advantage. Senior Ella Stewart then had her 3-point attempt rattle out on the next trip, coming off a kick-out pass from Ajekwu.

“I thought we came out with a lot of confidence and played hard,” Dickson said. “It was good to see us get a couple on the board.”

That is when the wheels started to fall off for the hosts, however. The Hawks proceeded to go on an 18-0 run over the final five-plus minutes of the first quarter, illustrating the Lions still have room for growth.

Olathe East, of course, has become the ultimate measuring stick for a lot of teams in this league. The Hawks have only dropped two games to Sunflower League foes, improving their record to 11-5 (7-2 Sunflower League) with their latest victory on Friday.

Senior guard Savanna Perez fueled Olathe East’s ferocious run to close out the opening period. She scored 12 straight points during a stretch in the first quarter before finishing with a game-high 16 points.

Ajekwu eventually ended the drought with an interior basket at the 7:05 mark in the second period. She finished as the lone LHS player to reach double figures, scoring 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the floor. Yet Lawrence’s defense kept the hosts within striking distance for much of the night.

“Our defense was amazing,” Ajekwu said. “Today, I felt like our intensity was up. We really wanted it today.”

The Lions had their moments, even though they trailed by at least 13 points the rest of the way. Stewart connected on a 3-pointer midway through the second period, thanks to a nice pass by Marshall.

Ramirez had an impressive hustle play in the second period, forcing one of Olathe East’s nine turnovers of the game. Moments later, Ramirez was rewarded by having her running floater find the bottom of the net.

After trailing 34-14 at the intermission, Lawrence then held Olathe East scoreless until there was 3:13 left in the third quarter. The Lions only managed to score a single basket over that stretch, but it took a total-team effort to keep the Hawks off the scoreboard for that long.

Stewart managed to draw a charge in the third period, which was one of Olathe East’s five turnovers during that eight-minute stretch. Marshall, Ramirez, Harjo, Paiden Bell and Lexi Dutcher were all responsible for helping LHS hold Olathe East to just 2 points in the third quarter.

“I felt like the girls, for the first time in a long time, played Lady Lion basketball,” Dickson said. “We played great team defense. People will see that and think they changed their lineup. They did the same stuff they did in the first half; we just did a better job.”

Lawrence will travel to Olathe North at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Olathe East (48)

Aubrey Rogers 2-6 1-1 6, Savanna Perez 7-11 0-0 16, Courtney Kearney 2-7 1-2 5, LaSharea Richardson 0-2 1-2 1, Molly Kaemmer 4-9 4-6 12, Ally Biddison 1-2 0-0 2, Kaylee Taylor 2-2 2-2 6. Totals: 18-39 9-13 48.

Lawrence (28)

Hailey Ramirez 2-8 0-2 4, Amaya Marshall 2-5 2-3 7, Ella Stewart 2-11 0-0 5, Layla Harjo 0-3 0-0 0, Ozi Ajekwu 5-13 1-5 11, Lexi Dutcher 0-1 0-0, Geme Ajekwu 0-0 1-2 1, Paiden Bell 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 11-43 4-12 28.

Olathe E 20 14 2 12 — 48

Lawrence 5 9 7 7 — 28

3-point goals: OE 3-11 (Rogers, Perez 2); LHS 2-16 (Marshall, Stewart). Turnovers: OE 9; LHS 12. Fouled out: None.


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