In one short sentence, Lee’s Summit West girls basketball coach Jeff Hardin summed up the Titans’ long afternoon.
“We missed too many shots inside and they missed too many shots outside,” Hardin said after the Titans fell to North Kansas City 50-42 in a Class 5 sectional game March 12 at the Independence Events Center.
And that was about it. North Kansas City, 19-9, hit West, 18-9, with a three-point barrage it wasn’t expecting. The Hornets went a blistering eight for 13 from behind the arc.
“It’s like they were playing HORSE,” Hardin said. “I’ve coached in this arena five or six times, and I’ve never seen anything like that, guys or girls.
“(Eight) for 13 is just silly. And that’s the game.”
Northtown can hit the three, and the Titans knew that. What came as a surprise was the way the Hornets got them.
West expected Selena Salas to put up the long shot, and she hit three of them on her way to 11 points. The Titans didn’t, however, expect to see Aries Washington pop in three from behind the arc in scoring 19 points, or Kianna Lane to also hit one and score 11.
“What we worked on was keeping them out of the lane,” Hardin said. “(Salas) likes to shoot outside but other than her (Washington’s) spot is the high post and that where she shoots from. For her to hit those two pull-up threes was just ridiculous. (Lane) doesn’t hit threes but she made the first one like she’s been hitting them all her life.”
Washington put Northtown in control when she scored the first eight points of the second quarter, the last six with a pair of three-pointers. That turned the Hornets 15-9 first-quarter lead into a 23-9 advantage.
West trailed 29-21 at the half and battled back to within six points a couple of times. The Titans got some good looks inside, but they struggled to make baskets. It didn’t help that Di’Jionae Calloway, their leading scorer and main presence inside, played most of the second half in foul trouble.
“We had a couple of foul calls on Calloway that I thought were questionable and those changed the game,” Hardin said.
Calloway’s 10 points led West and Elle Sandbothe chipped in three, three-pointers for nine points. Both should be back next season, as should the rest of the senior-less team.
Hardin hopes they all remember how their season came to an end.
“We told them North Kansas City was in this spot last year, losing a sectional game, and they must have used that as their motivations for this year,” Hardin said. “We want to follow that pattern. We’ll use this feeling we have right now to propel ourselves on to next year.”