Leavenworth, Pleasant Ridge and Immaculata all win while Lansing falls at home

The Lady Pioneers basketball team jumped on Shawnee Mission North early Friday and never looked back.
In this case, the expression “jumped on” isn’t just metaphorical: The Pioneers played above the Indians from the opening whistle.
Six-footers Tyler Johnson and Rachel Blackburn had a field day inside against the smaller opposition en route to a 65-44 final.
“We like to play the inside-out approach, and you saw that tonight,” Leavenworth coach Derek Zeck said. “This is the first time all season that we got it inside and made perimeter shots.”
The score got lopsided early thanks to Johnson’s play inside. In a string of offensive possessions in the first quarter, she got a put-back bucket on a missed free throw, then scored facing a double team, and then scored after dispatching a triple team.
Johnson finished with 21 points.
“I had an okay game,” she said. “I missed some easy put-backs. There’s always room for improvement.”
In the second quarter, the inside threat opened up outside looks. Guards Alicia Brown and Shelby Ogden contributed threes as the Pioneers scored 22 points to lead 33-10 at half.
After Johnson, Brown scored 13 followed by Destinee Robinson with 11 and Ogden and Emily Ruble with six each.
The Lady Pioneers, 5-4, will next compete in the Emporia Tournament starting on Jan. 24.
“[At the beginning of the season] We were strangers, and now we’re getting a family bond,” Johnson said. “My teammates are my sisters. We all get along really well and it’s fun.”

PR girls blow out Maur Hill
For the second straight game, the Pleasant Ridge girls’ basketball team played lights-out defense.
And for the second straight game, the Lady Rams demolished its opponent.
Traveling to Maur Hill Friday, PR held its hosts to just two second-half points and cruised to a 52-14 win. It was the team’s third straight victory.
“We did a great job tonight with our defensive pressure,” Pleasant Ridge coach Mike Koontz said. “We have to put pressure on the ball for us to be successful offensively, any way we can. Whether that is straight man or full-court or trap, we don’t have the outside shooters so we have to make offense with our ball pressure defensively.”
After suffering through a lethargic first quarter, the Lady Rams exploded for 19 points in the second to take a 27-12 advantage into the half.
From there, the game was over. Ridge allowed just one basket in the remaining two periods of play, while scoring 25 themselves.
“Our first quarter was not very good tonight,” Koontz said. “We have to find a way to get out of the gates. But after that first quarter, something turns on and we just go.”
Beth Doty recorded 17 points to lead PR while Kelsey Carpenter added eight. Ashten Langley and Jordan Adams each had six points.
Pleasant Ridge, 6-1, will play at rival Immaculata Monday at 6 p.m.

Lady Raiders edge Jackson Heights
A senior year is a terrible thing to waste and Immaculata’s Lainey Bell and Georgia Dean are making sure they don’t.
Following the Lady Raiders basketball team’s 34-30 home win over Jackson Heights Friday, Imac coach Terry Jordan wasted little time in highlighting his upperclassmen.
“Our senior leadership has us where we are,” Jordan said. “Throw in Grace Parker and they are all really beginning to compliment each other’s play a lot.”
The biggest dividend of the increased team chemistry has come on the defensive end of the floor. Over the team’s last three games, the Lady Raiders have held their opponents to just over 30 points a game.
During that stretch, Imac is 2-1.
“In tonight’s game, we played man because we haven’t all year and I knew he wouldn’t be expecting that,” Jordan said. “It worked and from there, Lainey made big free throws down the stretch while Georgia and Kasey Cannon both had big plays to seal the deal.”
It was a slow start for both teams as each traded leads throughout the four quarters of play. Yet by the final period, Immaculata put in enough baskets to hold a slim lead and then defended the advantage.
Bell finished with 18 points while Parker added seven and Cannon contributed five.
Imac, 4-4, will host rival Pleasant Ridge at 6 p.m. Monday.

Lady Lions stumble in second half
Much like last week, the Lansing girls’ basketball team faced a close game at the half, but ultimately came up short.
On Friday, the Lady Lions fell to the Basehor-Linwood by the final tally of 56-35.
After only trailing by four at half, Lansing was outscored 35-18 in the second half. Mikalya Zielinski led the Lions in scoring with 13 points.
Lansing, 1-8, plays Silver Lake Monday at 6 p.m. in the Tonganoxie Invitational.
- James Howey