The girls’ varsity basketball team fell 46-60 to the Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars on Friday.
SMNW commanded the beginning of the game, using quick passes to evade East’s defense and several strong blocks to inhibit their offense. East rebounded well on the defensive end but struggled offensively. According to head coach Lauren Lawrence, the team didn’t transition quick enough. With only 1:11 left in the first quarter, the Lancers were down 9-1.
“Northwest did a good job switching up their defense almost every possession,” junior Libby Frye said. “They played a couple types of zones and a basic man-to-man, so it was a challenge having to adjust our offense every time we went up the floor.”
After the slow start, East played catch-up for the remaining 24 minutes. SMNW had a quicker speed of play, moving well off of the ball to open up space for shots.
East implemented an off-the-ball screen trap, successful about 50 percent of the time. Some occasions forced turnovers while others left opposing players open in the paint for easy layups, including SMNW junior Jordan Nachbar who scored 34 of Northwest’s 60 points.
Several SMNW mistakes — double dribbles, travels and wayward passes — gave the Lancers a chance to tighten the score. Three’s from sophomore Jordan Yowell and senior Josie Clough and a well-executed drive from senior Kyle Haverty brought the Lancers to trail just 19-24 at half.
But East was unable to make up the difference.
“Basketball is a game of runs, and we have to be able to answer without making costly mistakes and key points,” Lawrence said. “We had SMNW down to four points several times, but were never able to get over the hump.”
Another flying start by the Cougars allowed them to widen the gap, leaving the Lancers behind at 26-37 in the third quarter. Crucial rebounding and defense brought the score back within five, to 32-37.
But even 3-pointers by Yowell in the fourth and several quick drives and steals with about a minute to go couldn’t breach the divide. The Cougars broke away into the fourth quarter, leading 53-41 with 1:45 left. Last-minute fouls by East and several fast breaks by Northwest brought the game to its end.
The team’s current season record is 4-11-0. There are five remaining regular-season games. They will face Olathe Northwest tomorrow at 5:30 at ONW.