If you do a spit take when you see the first semester GPA numbers from the Shawnee Mission East girls basketball, you’re not alone.
The Lady Lancers have 45 girls — out of 49 players and managers — who earned a 3.0 GPA or better with 32 of them earning a 4.0 or better. Yes, you read that right; 32 girls had a 4.0 or better. However, those numbers didn’t surprise coach Lauren Lawrence.
“We are fortunate to have some highly motivated student-athletes, and I think that’s true of Shawnee Mission East, in general, as well,” Lawrence said. “I’m also an English teacher in the building, so I feel very fortunate to be a part of the community. We have a lot of parent support; we have a lot of administrative support. Our teachers are very caring and I think it shows with the academic success these girls have been having. I’m just really proud of them.”
Lawrence said she stresses to players that “student” comes first in “student-athlete.” The second-year coach said academics are priority, but she doesn’t have to push the girls or have many conversations with them.
Junior Katie Hise said the priorities are family, school, basketball and then everything else. She said Lawrence has been lenient if the Lady Lancers have something school or family related.
“Yes, some people might go play basketball in college, but school is what is going to be your future, and she is helpful with that,” Hise said.
Sophomore Jordan Yowell said she and her teammates keep each other accountable. She said it’s a privilege to be on the team.
Yowell isn’t only a student and a basketball player. She also plays tennis. Hise plays soccer and is involved in DECA and student council. There are girls who are in National Honor Society or Harbinger.
“You’re not just all bonding about basketball,” Yowell said. “It’s not always talking about basketball. It’s other things in school. Something might have happened today and it’s fun to get to see what everyone else involved in.”