Katie Gleason and Sydney Wilson don’t play like sophomores.
In fact, with a berth in the state tournament on the line Friday, the Olathe East duo looked like shrewd high school basketball veterans.
Gleason and Wilson combined for 30 points, leading the Hawks to a 43-30 win over Blue Valley North in a Class 6A substate final at Olathe East.
“I was very motivated coming into tonight,” said Gleason, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half. “That’s the most motivated I’ve been all season. I’ve never been to state for a high school team.”
With the Hawks holding a 16-14 lead coming out of halftime, Gleason kickstarted the Olathe East offense, hitting two three-pointers to give her team a seven-point cushion. The Hawks continued their stifling defense from the first half after the break, and the Mustangs never threatened the rest of the way.
“We told them at halftime to be confident and shoot the ball, and when Katie hit the first three-pointer I think that kind of relaxed everybody a little bit,” Olathe East coach Clint Evans said.
Gleason’s second shot from behind the arc came courtesy of a dynamic play by Wilson. Jumping out of bounds, Wilson grabbed a loose ball midair and passed it to Cameron Kincaid, who then got the ball to Gleason.
“It was still alive, I just had to get the ball for my team so we could keep possession,” Wilson said.
Wilson put the game away for Olathe East with her play down the stretch, hitting a buzzer-beating three to end the third, then scoring seven of her 17 points in the fourth as the Hawks built a double-digit lead.
“We’ve started to play with some maturity,” said Evans, whose team features only one senior in its playing rotation and improved to 17-5. “That didn’t happen a whole lot at points earlier in the year, but we made a lot of smart basketball plays” Friday.