Missouri girls state basketball recap: Experience of season was 'real answer' for Broncos

03/25/2014 12:24 PM

03/25/2014 12:25 PM

After answering a steady flow of questions about exactly what went wrong in the Missouri Class 5 girls basketball state championship game, Lee’s Summit North High School senior Imani Johnson finally ran out of answers.

Still trying to shake off a 62-45 defeat by Columbia Rock Bridge in the championship game last Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Johnson stumbled over the final question.

Her coach, trying to help, interrupted.

“It’s hard to put into words what we just experienced coming off that floor,” Broncos coach Tricia Lillygren said.

Lee’s Summit North didn’t have many answers immediately after the game. They had even fewer during it.

Lee’s Summit North was unable to find a way to halt the momentum of a Rock Bridge dynasty that had captured its third consecutive state championship.

Despite the disappointment the championship game provided, the Broncos were still adamant about the success of their 24-6 season.

“This whole experience has been great,” said Johnson, who leaves Lee’s Summit North as its top career scorer. “Just to be able to come down here (to Columbia) and spend time with my teammates and coaches, I’ve enjoyed that. It’s meant a lot to me.”

Lee’s Summit North reached the state championship game for the first time since winning the Class 4 title in 2002.

The Broncos also won the Suburban Gold Conference championship this season, losing only two league games in dethroning defending champion Blue Springs. They had won 13 of 14 games going into the game against Rock Bridge.

“We became closer as a team,” Lee’s Summit North senior point guard Erica Nelson said. “This year has been awesome for me — coming down here as a team. This is a great experience for me. I’m happy to be a Bronco.”

Lee’s Summit North will lose four senior starters from its final four team — Johnson, Nelson, Jaden Powell and Stevie Anderson. That group combined for 44 points per game this season — roughly 80 percent of the team’s scoring output.

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