Besides two 3-pointers, Lee’s Summit North scored the rest of its points from the paint or the free-throw line.
Even with 6-foot-3 Aiyana Johnson in foul trouble most of the second half, the Broncos made a concerted effort to get the ball inside Monday against Blue Springs South, and it paid off with a 49-37 home win.
“We tried to push it in,” senior Micaela Dickerson said. “Our size difference really helped us get the ball in and get some fouls and and-ones and get to the free-throw line tonight. It was really good advantage.”
North made nine free throws as a team, while Tiana Gipson and Anija Frazier each made a three-pointer. The rest of the points came from layups, many of them second-chance points.
“Rebounding won it for us,” Broncos coach Tricia Lillygren said. “In our stats, we had 41 boards and they had 17. We had extra shots at the basket, because our shooting was probably the worst that it’s been. Our field-goal percent was probably the worst it’s been all season. It was nice to get those extra chances, and sooner or later it’s going to go in.”
Twice, Dickerson picked up back-to-back offensive rebounds before making a layup. Another time she dished an offensive rebound to Zakiyyah Winston for a bucket.
“It was just to get boards on boards on boards,” Dickerson said. “I’ve been lacking that a couple of past games, so my main focus was to get as many boards as I could, and I did.”
Johnson led North with 13 points despite the foul trouble. Gipson pitched in 11 points, while Dickerson and Winston each added eight points.
The Broncos got off to a sluggish start. They had as many turnovers and fouls as they did points with 2:30 left to play in the first quarter and the Jaguars led 10-4.
“We had some way unforced (errors),” Lillygren said, “just leaving our feet to make a pass, coming down and traveling, throwing the ball over somebody’s head. Definitely, some things we need to play sharper.”
The Broncos wound up with 16 turnovers Monday, but they also forced Blue Springs South into 21 turnovers.
An 8-0 run put the Broncos ahead early in the second quarter after Gipson knocked down a pair of free throws. North then ended the half on a 6-0 run and took a 21-14 lead into halftime.
Defense led to more offense in the third period as a couple of steals by Johnson led to transition layups, which pushed the lead to 37-25 even after Blue Springs South’s Derrian Ford made back-to-back threes.
Dickerson gave North its biggest lead at 41-27 with two offensive boards and a layup early in the fourth quarter
The Jaguars (7-9 overall, 3-2 Suburban Gold) were nipping at the Broncos’ heels in the conference standings. But the win keeps North (10-4, 5-0 Suburban Gold) atop the standings.
It also sets up a big matchup Jan. 31 at Lee’s Summit West.
“It was really important to get another conference win,” Dickerson said. “We’re almost done with this first round of conference, so this win was really big for us so we’re now 5-0.”
The Titans (10-2, 4-0 Suburban Gold) also are undefeated entering Tuesday’s game versus Lee’s Summit.
But first, Lillygren will go for win No. 400 on Jan. 29 at Staley, which North beat 57-38 on Jan. 17 during the KA-MO Classic at Blue Valley North.