One word to describe Shawnee Mission East’s girls win against Shawnee Mission West: gritty.
It started with Josie Clough knocking down a three to open the second half and SM East turning SM West over on four of the first five possessions to open the third quarter, including a charge taken by Clough before she knocked down a two on the other end.
SM East 53, SM East 39
Before you know it, the nine-point SM West halftime lead was down to two. SM East didn’t let up. The Lancers outscored the Vikings 17-1 in the third quarter as they topped SM West 53-39. It was the first varsity win for SM East against SM West in more than four years.
“(Coach Lauren Lawrence) got in our faces and was saying we were playing soft,” Clough said, who scored seven points. “We have a big rivalry with West and so it really hurt not just losing at halftime, but against them, too. We all, mainly the seniors, picked each other up and said, ‘We’re not going to lose. We haven’t beat West in our four years here.’ This was a big win for us.”
The goal for SM East coming out of the locker room at halftime was to win each four-minute interval. I didn’t matter if it was by nine points or one point that was how SM East planned on getting back into the game.
The Lancers also received a boost off the bench from Sofia Stechschulte and Emma Eberhart, who added some physicality. The two grabbed six offensive rebounds, each, as Eberhart totaled 15 boards. SM East outrebounded SM West 44-19, and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds.
“We’ve always played as a guard-oriented team,” Lawrence said. “It’s been nice having Sofia Stechschulte back and Emma Eberhart step up in the post because now we have an inside presence. It allows us to play inside-out and really opens up our guards.
“Emma is more of a take-down your throat type of player. She’s going to go-go-go, and Sofia is more of a European-style player. She’s very finesse; she really could play the guard spot, but with her length we like her down low. It’s really changed the dynamics of how we’ve been playing.”
SM West coach Ryan Foster said the game was a little chippy, but it was never angry chippy. He said it was intense energy and Khaliah Hines and Ashlyn Henrie didn’t back down from the challenge.
Foster said they needed to take the energy and spin it into a positive like frazzling their opponent. It was SM East who was able to take advantage of that energy. Foster knew the Lancers would make a run to begin the second half. He was “cautiously optimistic” coming out of the locker room at halftime.
“We didn’t come out of it. That surge was really our fault and not theirs with our turnovers, our missed shots,” Foster said. “(Turnovers) have been one of our Achilles heels all year since we throw the ball away.”
SM West jumped out to a lead as big as 11 thanks to 10 points by Emma Beason in the first quarter.
Foster said she was fatigued in the second half as she guarded Haverty, who led all scorers with 23 points.
The good news for the Vikings is the return of 6-foot-2 senior Kenzie Loe, who will make her season debut on Friday after sitting with an ACL injury