Lee’s Summit West girls’ basketball Jeff Hardin wanted a game where the Titans could get their offense going and ease into the postseason.
Hardin got just what he wanted Feb. 21 as West closed out the regular season with a 67-29 victory against Lee’s Summit at the Tigers’ Fieldhouse.
The victory gave the Titans a tie for the Suburban Gold Conference with Lee’s Summit North in addition a chance to score some points.
“This was good for us,” Hardin said. “We needed a game where we jumped out pretty quick and were able to ride that and extend on it every single quarter. We needed to do that.”
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West (19-5, 11-1 Suburban Gold) did so with ease against Lee’s Summit, jumping out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter and a 40-17 advantage by halftime.
Marissa Ritchey got the Titans going with three three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 16 points. Sydnee Kemp contributed 15 points, including two threes as West hit a total of eight shots from behind the arc.
Shooting has been a concern of late for Hardin, especially after West’s 69-55 loss Feb. 15 at Lee’s Summit North.
Granted, it was North’s Senior Night and the Broncos had four double-figure scorers, led by Tiana Gipson’s 19 points and Aiyana Johnson’s 18.
Still, Hardin thought the Titans could have made it more competitive if they had shot the ball a little better.
“We didn’t shoot to the level that we normally do, and they just played very, very well,” Hardin said. “They came out excited, they hit some shots and that makes them pretty tough.”
West’s toughness comes from the perimeter and it comes mostly from Kemp, a 5-foot-5 senior guard who leads the Titans in scoring at 12 points per game. Ritchey, a 5-8 sophomore guard, averages around 9 points per contest and after that come several players in the 5- to 6-point range.
As a team, the Titans are shooting a solid 35 percent from three-point range, but Hardin thinks it’s time for West to get some more scoring from its posts with high-low looks. That includes 6-foot juniors Lesley Lovelace and Ashton Campbell as well as 6-1 junior Jillian Kirkpatrick.
As good as the outside shooting has been, he said the Titans could be even better with a more offensive balance. At this point in the season, they need to be.
“We’ve been relying on our perimeter so much that teams are figuring that out,” Hardin said. “So, now it’s our posts’ turn. They need to take it and finish it.”
West will have the No. 1 seed in the Class 5, District 13 girls’ tournament, which gets under way Feb. 26 at Raymore-Peculiar.
Lee’s Summit (1-22, 0-11 Suburban Gold) was scheduled to play its regular-season finale Feb. 22 at Blue Springs South. Then, the Tigers face Belton at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 in district play, with the winner facing the Titans the at 4 p.m. on Feb. 27.
Suburban Gold co-champion North has the No. 2 seed and will play No. 3 Ray-Pec at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 27.