St. Pius X High School girls basketball coach Bob Fenzel is beginning to believe that talent trumps experience. And few could blame him, considering the first-hand evidence his team is providing.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
The Warriors have only one senior among their top-eight scorers this season, yet they own a 10-4 record.
This is where the talent comes into play. That starts with junior Riana Everidge.
An all-district selection last season, Everidge has blossomed into a go-to player, posting 20.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
“This girl probably works harder than any girl I’ve got,” Fenzel said. “She’s just a very gifted athlete who can jump out of the gym and score from anywhere.”
The first half of Everidge’s junior season has led to heavy interest from Nevada, a Division I program.
But the Warriors’ talent doesn’t stop with her.
Freshman forward Abby Hipp, who missed the first eight games because of an injury, has provided 11.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. She is one of three freshmen to log heavy minutes along with point guard Natalie Denzer and Amanda Hayes.
Hannah Brockman is the senior in the rotation.
“Being so young, it’s taken us awhile to mold together as a team, but we’ve grown up a lot,” Fenzel said. “It’s been a process, and we’re not there yet. The last three games, they’ve played very, very well.”
The Warriors will travel to North Kansas City next week for the annual Northland Classic. The tournament begins Monday.
Boys game of week: Lee’s Summit West at Park Hill South, 7 p.m. Friday
Both teams captured tournament championships over the weekend, which represented their final tuneups before opening the Suburban Red Conference schedule. Each was to begin league play Tuesday.
Last season, Lee’s Summit West edged Park Hill South by one game for the conference crown, and the two teams appear to be the favorites for the title again.
Lee’s Summit West, 12-2, blew by the state’s top-ranked team, Columbia Hickman, in the semifinals of the Culver’s Classic before also dispatching Columbia Rock Bridge in the championship game. When the Titans rebound, they are tough to beat. Monte Harrison and Jarred Dixon have led the way on offense.
Park Hill South, 11-4, cruised to a first-place finish at the North Kansas City Tournament, defeating Winnetonka 59-22 in the championship game. Each of its four losses this season has come by six points or fewer.
Girls game of week: Chillicothe at Smithville, 7 p.m. Monday
Six of the eight teams in the Midland Empire Conference have posted winning records as the conference schedule heats up. Two will meet Monday in Smithville.
Smithville, 12-2, placed second in the conference last season behind St. Joseph Benton, but the Warriors defeated Benton two weeks ago.
In search of their fourth straight trip to the Missouri Class 4 Final Four, the Warriors possess a balanced scoring attack, which is led by forward Paige Imhoff and sharp-shooting Bethany Pierce.
But coach Trevor Mosby’s team is again built on its defense. The Warriors have held 10 of 14 opponents to 40 points or fewer.
Chillicothe, with a 10-4 record, has scored at least 40 points in all but two games.