GARDEN PLAIN — Garden Plain coach Sarah McCormick said her girls didn't want a close game Friday night, so they went out and shut out Conway Springs 17-0 in the first quarter, rolling to a 43-19 Central Plains League victory.
"Our girls were ready to play tonight," McCormick said. "They told me that we've played Conway close every single year, and they just said, 'We've got to be ready to play from the very beginning,' because we've had some setbacks and we've had to play catch up the rest of the time.
"So they wanted to make sure."
And they did just that. Juniors Alli Heimerman and Natalie Dooley accounted for all but two of the points in the period for the Owls (7-1, 2-0). Heimerman hit two three-pointers and had 10 points, and Dooley hit another three and scored five.
"Alli's tough to guard, because any second, she'll pull up for a three, and then the next second you go out there and she can penetrate," McCormick said.
Conway Springs seemed at times reluctant to shoot, passing the ball frequently, and could only get one shot when it did. Garden Plain would then corral the rebound and head downcourt. In fact, the Cardinals (4-2, 0-1) got their first offensive rebound with 39.3 seconds left in the period.
When Heimerman — who scored 17 points in Tuesday's game at Cheney — and Dooley weren't hitting, the Owls were getting tough play inside from seniors Janelle Hoheisel (5-foot-10) and Sierra Hays (5-11), as well as junior Cassidy Haukap (5-10). The much-smaller Cardinals could only counter with 5-11 freshman Sara Echelberry, and the Garden Plain defense stifled many attempts to get the ball inside to her. Even when she did get the ball, she had to battle to score her five points.
"I'm so lucky to have upperclassmen who can pull along those underclassmen so that way we don't skip a beat from year to year," McCormick said.
McCormick said she looks for Conway Springs — which only has one senior — to get tougher as the season progresses.
"I would be ready for them to really mature throughout the season, so when we see them a second time, I wouldn't bet it would be this type of score," she said.
Conway Springs (4-3, 0-1) 0 6 5 8 — 19 Garden Plain (7-1, 2-0) 17 10 6 10 — 43
CONWAY SPRINGS: Smith 6, May 4, Zoglmann 4, Echelberry 5. Totals 8 3-6 19.
GARDEN PLAIN: Hays 4, Haukap 5, Heimerman 12, Na. Dooley 7, Bourne 2, Youngers 2, Hoheisel 7, Costello 2, Klabenes 2. Totals 16 (3) 8-11 43.