High schools

Truman girls stay on the gas, roar past SM Northwest

Updated: 2014-01-26T02:56:01Z


The Kansas City Star

Truman senior Abby Hix considers herself as competitive as anyone she plays against, and it shows in her tireless style.

But as much as she enjoys winning, Hix has come to a hard-to-admit conclusion: The Patriots’ one loss — a 15-point thumping from Olathe South on Dec. 20 — has been their most beneficial game yet.

That’s hard to argue.

Truman rattled off its eighth consecutive double-digit victory Saturday, a 74-62 win against Shawnee Mission Northwest to capture the 36th annual Truman High School Girls Basketball Tournament.

The Patriots, 15-1, have won by an average of 21 points since falling to Olathe South five weeks ago.

“We talk about this all the time — we’re grateful we lost that game,” Hix said. “We saw on tape what we needed to do better. Once you know why you lose, you know how to win.”

Hix backed up her words Saturday, pouring in a game-best 26 points on four three-pointers. Post player Becca Jonas scored 24 more, including 18 after halftime. That was no coincidence. Jonas found more room to work in the paint after Hix caught fire in the first half.

“I don’t really think we talked about going down low more, but it just opened up on its own with Abby hitting so well,” Jonas said. “That opened it up for me, and we took advantage.”

Jonas’ work inside halted a comeback bid by Shawnee Mission Northwest, which fell to 8-4. Truman also enjoyed an advantage from the free-throw line, where it made 27 of 34 attempts. By contrast, SM Northwest made six of 10 free throws.

SM Northwest junior Arielle Jackson scored 11 of her team-high 22 points in the third quarter to trim a 12-point deficit to only one point. Brenni Rose added 16 points.

Jonas, however, scored eight points over the ensuing four minutes, pushing the lead back to double-digits — a familiar spot for the Patriots over the past month.

“You never want to lose one, but sometimes a loss against a great team can show you weaknesses,” Patriots coach Steve Cassity said. “You can return to practice and start to work on those so they don’t get exposed later. That’s what we’ve done. Our arrow is trending up right now. I like the way we’re playing.”

Lee’s Summit North 64, Liberty 52

Lee’s Summit North coach Tricia Lillygren says she thinks as many four teams can contend for the Suburban Gold Conference championship this season — hers being one of them.

The Broncos got a preview of what to expect in league play when they matched up against conference foe Liberty in Saturday’s third-place game. Lee’s Summit North prevailed, 64-52.

Imani Johnson scored 23 points for Lee’s Summit North, which opens a string of 10 consecutive conference games Monday with a trip to Liberty.

“We talked about this tournament being our last three practice games before conference,” Lillygren said. “We’re looking forward to good battles, and we’ll see how it all plays out.”

Morgan Fleming led Liberty with 16 points.

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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