Varsity Basketball

Heights' pressure traps Northwest

Wichita Heights' Tahlia Pope drives to the basket as Northwest's Brianna Caldwell tries to defend in the second half of Friday's basketball game at Heights. (Photo by Kelly Glasscock/Correspondent)
Wichita Heights' Tahlia Pope drives to the basket as Northwest's Brianna Caldwell tries to defend in the second half of Friday's basketball game at Heights. (Photo by Kelly Glasscock/Correspondent) Kelly Glasscock

Heights girls coach Kip Pulliam needed to see Heights' game against one-loss Northwest to be sure.

After Heights' 81-43 dismantling of the Grizzlies on Friday, Pulliam can say with confidence that the Falcons have the look of a state champion.

It's a look Pulliam knows well — he's coached or been an assistant on four Heights Class 6A title teams.

"We've got a team that can be one of those special teams," Pulliam said. "In the first half tonight, we were one of those teams. We hadn't played in three weeks, and we came out a little hungry."

Mac Millspaugh scored Northwest's first six points, the last two of which gave the Grizzlies an early lead.

Neither Millspaugh nor her Northwest teammates scored again until the second quarter, and the No. 2-ranked Falcons used a 19-0 run to seize control.

The Falcons' press was the culprit in Northwest's scoring drought of more than six minutes. The Grizzlies committed 13 turnovers, many in the backcourt that led to Heights layups.

"We always try to put (opponents) out early so they don't even think they have a chance," Heights senior forward Kamisha Richard said.

With two starters, Alaina Shine and Kylee Simon, 5-foot-11 or taller, Northwest had the size to match Heights' talented post duo of Richard and junior center Jhasmin Bowen.

Limiting Richard and Bowen proved too difficult for the Grizzlies, though. They combined for 34 points and 18 rebounds. Shine and Simon combined for 16 points and 18 rebounds.

"They're so athletic, and they work so well together," Pulliam said of Richard and Bowen. "We work inside out, and then the guards are knocking down shots. If we can all get going like we did tonight, we're going to do some really good things."

The challenge for the Falcons on Friday became staying sharp when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Pulliam wasn't pleased with that aspect of Heights' performance. Even though the Falcons outscored Northwest in the third and fourth quarters, they were sluggish to start both.

The first half, though, gave Heights an indication that it could be primed for another championship season. The Falcons return the majority of the team that finished fourth in 2008-09.

"We're always thinking about what we can do big, like winning state," Richard said. "I don't think it's ever too early. When you know, you know."

Northwest (6-2, 5-2) 6 11 12 14 — 43 Heights (6-1, 5-0) 23 23 18 17 — 81

NORTHWEST: M. Millspaugh 4 0-0 8, Nolen 1 0-0 2, Caldwell 3 1-3 8, Shine 4 4-4 12, Simon 2 0-0 4, A. Millspaugh 0 0-0 0, Wood 1 1-2 3, Loganbill 2 0-1 4, McAlpine 1 0-0 2, Allen 0 0-0 0, McPherson 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 (1) 6-10 43.

HEIGHTS: Chandler 1 0-0 3, Pope 4 2-5 11, Chisom 2 3-4 8, Richard 7 4-8 18, Jhas. Bowen 6 4-5 16, Jhar. Bowen 1 0-0 3, Palmer 0 0-0 0, Ivy 2 0-0 4, Sims 3 1-2 8, Cyphers 0 0-0 0, Robinson 0 1-2 1, Lynch 3 0-0 9, Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 (8) 15-26 81.

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