Moments into the second period, Truman High School senior Becca Jonas etched her named into the Patriots’ record book.
She slipped through a host of would-be Lee's Summit defenders and kissed a layup off the glass and through the basket. She needed seven points to reach 1,000 for her career and that basket left her with 1,001.
She finished the game with 20 points and 12 boards to lead the Patriots to a 49-37 victory over the Tigers Monday night in the first round of the 36th annual Truman Invitational.
Jonas, as she has done most of the season, dominated all phases of the game. But she had plenty of help as sophomores Bri Savidge (8) and Lexi Hart (8) combined for 16 points, many of them in the paint like Jonas.
“That was the game plan going in,” Jonas said after the Patriots advanced to a 7 p.m. Thursday semifinal against Liberty. “We had a big size advantage and we took advantage of it. Bri and Lexi did a great job tonight – all the girls did.
“We're kind of a work in progress now because we lost (our best defender) Kayla Harrell (to season-ending knee surgery) and we're playing zone defense instead of man defense. Kayla would always take our opponent's best (offensive) player, and now we're playing a zone and we're getting better at it each game we play.”
When asked if she knew she was seven points away from 1,000, she blushed a bit and shook her head up and down to signal yes.
“Our super fan told me about it, but I wasn't counting the number of baskets I made tonight” said Jonas, who has signed a letter of intent with Drake University in the early signing period. “I didn't know I'd scored 1,000 until they announced it during a timeout. I'm happy it came here at home, and not some place on the road like St. Joseph.
“My family was able to be here, it came in a win, and it came on a night we all played well. It's a special night.”
Truman coach Steve Cassity believes her point total could be much higher if she were not such an unselfish player.
“How many times tonight did she make a perfect pass to a teammate, and that teammate scored?” Cassity said. “She is so talented. She's a great passer, a great rebounder and when you reach a milestone like 1,000 career points, you're a pretty good scorer, too.
“And on this team, we get all the girls involved in the offense. Abby Hix could hit 1,000 points this season, so it's not like Becca takes all our shots.”
Savidge, who had a streak of double-digit scoring games stopped Monday night, was pleased with the win. She came off the bench after injuring her right wrist a week ago.
“It hurts a little bit,” Savidge said as she held a bag of ice on her wrist, “but we got the win and that's all that matters. Becca scored her 1,000th career point and she made some great passes.”
Perhaps the best was to Savidge, who caught a floor-length pass and hit an uncontested layup.
“Center to center,” quipped Cassity, grinning from ear to ear. “How often do you see that?”
Added Savidge: “I felt like a wide receiver catching a pass from a quarterback. It's fun when you have a play like that. It gets everyone excited.”
Hart, who started in place of Savidge, said she likes the challenge of starting for the Patriots.
“It's a challenge and I'm ready for it,” said Hart, who had six rebounds (Savidge added four). “We're a good team, but if we keep working hard and playing like we did tonight, we have the chance to become a very good team.”
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 68, SMITHVILLE 45: Four players scored in double figures to lead the Broncos to an easy first-round victory in the Truman Invitational Monday night.
Imani Johnson fired in 17 points, Jaden Powell and Aaliyah Johnson added 11 each and Erica Nelson contributed 10 as North improved to 10-2. North broke to a 16-8 lead after one quarter and coasted to the win.
“We were able to utilize our size with some great passes from our guards,” North coach Tricia Lillygren said.
North meets Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Northwest in the semfinals at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Smithville plays Raytown at 5:30 p.m. today in a consolation game.