South’s girls basketball team has relied heavily on its seniors this season, but in its Class 6A tournament opener Wednesday it got a big contribution from two scrappy juniors.
Haley Beard had a double-double of 11 points and a team-high 13 rebounds to help the Titans subdue Shawnee Mission Northwest 56-38 at Koch Arena. Fellow junior Aerihna Afoa scored 10 points, including two of South’s three three-point baskets.
The seniors weren’t exactly silent, either. Point guard Tre’Zure Jobe was perfect in 12 free-throw attempts – 10 in the fourth quarter, when South outscored the Cougars 22-13. Those foul shots helped her to a game-high 16 points. Fellow senior Loan-Anh Johnson finished with nine points. Eight Titans scored in the game.
SM Northwest scored as many points in the fourth quarter as it had in the entire first half. The Cougars were plagued by poor shooting and South’s suffocating defense down low, hitting 23.4 percent for the game.
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Beard had three of South’s nine steals in the game.
Juniors Hannah Black and Rachel Seibold led the Cougars’ attack with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
South (22-1) jumped to a 23-13 halftime lead and used a 22-point fourth quarter to advance to Friday’s semifinals at 6:30 against the winner of the late game between Derby (20-1) and Blue Valley North (17-5).
SM Northwest (16-7) hit its first three of the game with 6:33 left in the third quarter, as Hannah Black connected to trim the deficit to 23-16.
The Titans heated up as the first half progressed, taking a 23-13 halftime lead. Shawnee Mission Northwest was plagued by 21.1 percent shooting in the opening half as well as committing eight turnovers to South’s five.
South was led in the first half by Johnson, who had one of the Titans’ two three-pointers in her seven points. Afoa hit the other three-pointer and had five points. The Titans connected on 10 of 19 from the field for 52.6 percent, including 60 percent (6 of 10) in the second quarter.
Shawnee Mission Northwest: Williams 5, Seibold 11, Black 14, Nachbar 4, Taylor 4.
Wichita South: Jobe 16, Afoa 10, Johnson 9, Beard 11, White 5, Brickhouse 2, Fanning 2, Lira 1.