What was Lee’s Summit North’s secret formula for roaring back from double digits and beating a team with a two-year-old winning streak?
Aiyana Johnson said it was really nothing special.
“We just played Bronco basketball,” Johnson said after the Broncos beat Bishop Miege 60-53 Friday night during the first day of the Hy-Vee Shootout at Avila. “We just stick to the script and take care of what we need to take care of.”
LS North’s script involves getting the ball inside to the 6-foot-2 Johnson and her 6-2 older sister Aaliyah Johnson, which the Broncos did to perfection during the second half. Aiyana Johnson scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the game; Aaliyah recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards.
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That combination made the difference as LS North, 7-0, overcame a 37-27 halftime deficit and handed Miege, the two-time defending Kansas Class 4A-DI state champions, its first loss in quite some time. Miege had come in on a 63-game win streak.
“We’re really pleased with our second-half game,” LS North coach Tricia Lillygren said. “The girls stepped up; they took the challenge in the locker room of just playing the way we asked them to play.”
Miege couldn’t match LS North’s size, but the Stags’ backcourt almost made up for it, especially when Johnni Gonzalez came out on fire in the first half. Gonzalez, a 5-6 sophomore guard, made five three-pointers in the first half and led all scorers with 20 points. Gonzalez hit three of her three-pointers in the second quarter as the Stags raced out to their 10-point halftime lead.
“(Gonzalez), she just had that drive and desire and will to win,” Lillygren said. “I’m just glad she cooled a little bit.”
Miege cooled from the perimeter, and the Broncos got another break when Ashton Verhulst, the Stags’ 6-1 freshman center, picked her fourth foul early in the third quarter. Aiyana Johnson scored 12 of the Broncos’ 21 third-quarter points, five of them during a 12-2 run that put LS North up 48-46 at the end of the quarter.
“I think what’s helped us was that we’ve been down before already this year,” Lillygren said. “We knew we just had to get back to stopping some perimeter shooting and playing better defense.”
Miege didn’t let its streak end quietly. The Stags were within 54-53 after two lead changes and a tie early in the fourth quarter, but they didn’t make another shot over the final three minutes.
“We all knew it was going to happen eventually,” Miege coach Terry English said. “We had a chance to at least tie and maybe get ahead at the end and we just made some mistakes.”
Friday’s other games
Blue Springs South 68, Sumner 36: Caden Mauck scored 11 points and Camron Roustic and Jared Ravencamp had 10 points each as Blue Springs South rolled to an easy victory in the first boys game. DiCarlo Jackson Jr. led Sumner Academy with 17 points.
Bishop Miege 65, Blue Springs 47: Miege’s one-two punch of Francesco Badocchi and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl proved too much for Blue Springs to handle as the Stags pulled away in the second half. Badocchi scored a team-high 19 points and Robinson-Earl had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Stags. R.J. Lawrence had 19 points and Tyree King finished with 16 points for Blue Springs.
St. Thomas Aquinas 68, Hogan Prep 48: In Friday’s final game, Hogan Prep shot a chilly 24 percent from the field and never challenged Aquinas. Angelo Allegri and Jack Boedeker both recorded double-doubles for Aquinas, with Allegri scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds and Boedeker recording 11 points and 13 boards. Damien Daniels led Hogan Prep with 10 points.
Leavenworth 41, St. Pius X 36: Aarika Lister scored 16 points and Zoie Hayward added 11 to lead Leavenworth in Friday’s first game of the day. Abby Hipp had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Antoinette Mussorici had 12 points for St. Pius X.