Olathe East had a plan against Shawnee Mission North: Don’t let freshman LeLe Love beat them.
The Hawks flashed an aggressive zone at the Lady Indians — double-teaming, and sometimes triple-teaming Love — that forced 21 turnovers in SM North’s 53-21 loss on Friday night.
Olathe East 53, SM North 21
Hannah Redick hit a triple less than two minutes into the game to give SM North a 3-2 lead, but it was all Olathe East after that. The Hawks went on a 30-3 run the rest of the half to take total control as they limited SM North to one point in the second quarter.
Coach Brian McIntosh’s squad played better in the second half, but said, ultimately, Olathe East is a really good team.
“They got third in state last year; they’re going to be back there this year,” McIntosh said. “They’re the best team we’ve played so far. That’s what a state championship caliber team looks like.
“Like I told our girls, we’re playing catch up a little bit. Some of our girls haven’t had the opportunity to play through elementary school and middle school. That, for our kids, hurts because basketball players aren’t made when you’re in high school or in middle school. Players are made when they’re in third, fourth, fifth grade and having a ball in their hands. That’s the difference between us and them.”
What McIntosh was getting at is putting in extra time in the gym to make herself a basketball player. He added his team is young — the Lady Indians have six upperclassmen on the roster, but only play four of them consistent minutes.
Olathe East, however, has eight upperclassmen who all see consistent time. SM North relies on Love’s ability to handle the ball, distribute and score. But at 6-foot and the tallest player on the team, pulling her away from the post limits the Lady Indians’ size, which was evident on Friday night.
“How they played us was a good strategy,” McIntosh said. “Other people have to be able to come up and relieve some pressure and be able to go make plays and be aggressive. At the end of the day it comes down to we can only control what we can control. Right now that’s going out and trying to battle and play hard and compete. If our girls go out and do that, that’s about all you can ask.”