Special to the Gardner News
The Gardner-Edgerton High School girls basketball team posted their first-ever Sunflower League victory Friday night by cruising to a 45-24 decision over Shawnee Mission North at GEHS Fieldhouse.
Three double-digit scorers led the way for the Trailblazers who posted runs of 9-0 and 15-0 on their way to victory.
After the game, GEHS head coach Joe Leiker spoke about the elements of his team’s play that contributed most to the win.
“Increased pressure on the defensive end — whether it was full or half-court,” said Leiker, “attacking the basket — whether it was getting a look at the rim or going to the line. That was going to be our best bet.”
Both teams appeared tentative at first, with both teams looking to establish offense through patient halfcourt sets. However, after a traditional 3-point play brought the Indians to within two at 7-5 with 1:27 left in the first quarter, the Lady Blazers exploded for 9 straight points. GEHS sophomore shooting guard Sofia Semon punctuated the run when her lane jumper off junior guard Alyx Van Rheen’s assist made the score 16-5 and forced a North timeout with 5:26 left in the first half. Semon extended the lead to 12 at 19-7 a minute-and-a-half later when she canned a 3-pointer from the right side, and junior post Mia Vallery made the edge 14 points when she stole an Indian pass at halfcourt and converted the following layup to male the score 23-9. The 14-point edge held into halftime with the Blazers going into the break up 25-11.
The Indians opened up the 2nd half on a 7-1 run of their own to pull back to within single digits, but GEHS ended the quarter on a 10-0 run with four different lady Blazers scoring in the string. The Trailblazers headed into the final frame with a commanding 36-18 lead.
The run increased to 15-0 early in the 4th quarter after freshman point guard Kaelin Platt’s right corner trey off an assist from senior 2-guard Jaden Sprague’s assist and a Vallery post bucket from a dish by senior guard Kelby Wilson. Moments later, Semon drilled another 3 from the right side on an assist from senior point guard Katie Whittley, and the Trailblazers claimed their biggest lead of the game at 44-19.
The win improved Blazers’ season record to 3-13 and 1-6 in the Sunflower League.
“We’ve got some kids stepping up and making plays in practice,’ Leiker said immediately following the game. We have a great group there who can all contribute, and they haven’t seperated from each other a lot, so they can create a lot of pressure.”
Vallery led all Trailblazers in scoring with 12 points and grabbed to co-lead in rebounds with 7. Semon added 11 points with 3 boards and 2 blocked shots, while Platt collected 10 points and 2 rebounds. Whittley contributed 3 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, while senior post Madyson Beasley was the Blazers’ other rebound leader with 7 boards to go with her 2 points.
Lady Trailblazers collect first Sunflower League win versus SMN