Now that the regular season is nearing the end, North Kansas City girls basketball coach Jeff Lacy wants his players to treat each game as a Suburban White championship.
That mentality meant the Hornets locker room got a bit intense at halftime because the Hornets trailed by six points against William Chrisman on Friday evening at the North Kansas City Fieldhouse.
North Kansas City entered the third quarter fired up, especially when senior Aries Washington and sophomore Kianna Lane dropped in a couple of three-pointers.
It only took the Hornets 4 minutes in the third quarter to match their total point production in the first half. They used that spurt to cruise to a 58-40 victory.
“We were just a little unfocused in the first half, but once we came out after halftime, and coach got us fired up, we had to show the heart we know we have,” Washington said. "We just got hyped after that and we played as a team."
The Hornets improved to 15-7 overall and 7-2 in conference.
“We have to have the mind-set that it is going to take all the little things to get a victory because every game is crucial from here on out,” Lacy said. “It carries over into districts. Once you get into districts, the pressure is even more.”
Washington turned in a special performance, scoring 12 of her game-high 30 points in the third quarter.
When asked if she realized she scored so many points, she said no.
“I just know that we won,” Washington said.
A victory was a bit in doubt at halftime. William Chrisman took a 21-15 lead into the locker room. The inside play of junior Rachel Losch was instrumental in the Bears leading for most of the second quarter.
Losch grabbed offensive rebounds and turned those boards into foul shots. She made five of six from the line in the second quarter.
But the game quickly turned at the start of the third quarter when Lane hit a three-pointer for North Kansas City. After a bucket by William Chrisman junior Haley Rodriguez, North Kansas City closed to 23-21 on a three-pointer by Washington.
Washington tied the game at 23-23 on a short jumper and then put the Hornets ahead for good at 26-23 on another three.
With just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter, North Kansas City held a 36-26 lead.
“I think our biggest issue in the first half was we weren’t forcing any turnovers and weren’t doing a good job blocking out,” Lacy said. “William Chrisman half court defense is pretty good. I thought if we came out in the second half pressing a little bit and got some turnovers; it could lead to some easy points. It always looks a lot better when you hit those shots.”
The Hornets put the game away in the fourth quarter at the free throw line, making 13 or 14.
Lane made four three-pointers for North Kansas City and finished with 13 points. Junior Makenzie Erikson led William Chrisman with 12 points.