The Blue Valley North High School girls basketball team might have started out Eastern Kansas League play slowly, but the Mustangs avenged their two early losses recently with key victories, which could turn things around.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
Last Friday night, Blue Valley North hung on for a 50-49 victory against St. Thomas Aquinas, which was previously undefeated in league play. Freshman guard Kierra Collier led the team with 24 points, including the Mustangs' last 10 of the game to seal the KA-MO Classic title. She was named to the All-Tournament Team with senior Maria Klug.
“I think this helps us as a team,” Collier said after the game. “We’ve gotten closer, we play really well together and I think we can get far this season, maybe state.”
The Mustangs followed that victory by defeating Bishop Miege 76-68 Monday night. It was just the second loss of the season for the Stags, who dropped to 8-2 while the Mustangs improved to 10-2.
Blue Valley North will face Blue Valley Northwest on Thursday night.
Sunflower League race heating up
In the early weeks of Sunflower League play, Leavenworth and Olathe South are already starting to pull away.
Leavenworth, 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference, has been steam-rolling opponents and winning by an average of 31.8 points per game. The closest margin of victory so far was 14 points over Lawrence Free State. Tyler Johnson leads the Pioneers with 14.2 points per game and is followed closely by Tashia Jones, who averages 14.1. Jones leads in rebounds with seven per game, followed by Johnson with 6.8.
Olathe South started the season with a dominant 60-7 victory against Blue Valley West in Joplin, but fell 48-40 to Marshfield the next night. The Falcons responded by rattling off eight straight victories to improve to 9-1 and 4-0 in the Sunflower League. The Falcons are led by Kylee Kopatich, who is averaging 11.8 points per game and leading the league with 8.2 assists and 4.1 steals per game.
The two dominant teams are headed to the Firebird Winter Classic where they could face each other in the championship before meeting again next Friday.
Area teams well represented in KBCA rankings
While there may not be any Eastern Kansas or Sunflower League teams leading the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association polls this week, the leagues are well represented among the Top 10.
Olathe South is ranked second in Class 6A with Blue Valley North right behind. Shawnee Mission Northwest and Olathe Northwest sit at Nos. 7 and 9, respectively.
In Class 5A, St. Thomas Aquinas is ranked second, and Leavenworth is fourth.
Senior excels at Truman Tournament
Blue Valley senior guard and Baker University signee Sydnie Hanson averaged 18 points per game in the Truman Girls’ Basketball Tournament last week. In the Tigers’ final game, a 53-47 loss to Smithville, she had 24 points including five three-pointers.