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Examiner
  • Seniors power Patriots to title

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  • Later this year, Becca Jonas and Abby Hix will embark on a new journey as they will be playing NCAA Division I basketball at Drake and Georgia Southern, respectively.
    For now, they are enjoying a fun ride with the Truman girls basketball team. The senior duo proved exactly why they will be playing at the next level as they combined for 50 points in a 74-62 victory over the Shawnee Mission (Kan.) Northwest Cougars Saturday in the championship game of the 36th-annual Truman Invitational.
    Hix, who had a game-high 26 points, did just about everything but fill the Gatorade cups. She shot 3-for-9 from the 3-point line, canned all six of her free-throw attempts and had a handful of assists, most of which she knifed through heavy traffic to find a teammate under the basket.
    “She can do just about everything on the offensive side of the floor,” Truman coach Steve Cassity said. “She's an incredible 3-point shooter and great passer.”
    Most of her assists went to Jonas, who finished with 24 points.
    “She (Jonas) got into foul trouble early, and we knew coming out in the second half that would be our time to utilize her,” Hix said. “Once we started hitting from the outside, that freed her up inside, and that's hard for teams to stop.”
    Shawnee Mission Northwest didn't have an answer for the 6-foot-1 senior who established her presence in the paint in the second half, where she scored 20 points. In fact, not many teams have been able to solve Jonas.
    “Becca not only has size, but she is so skilled,” Cassity said. “She has great footwork and great hands and is a great passer. She's a very difficult matchup for any team, not just Shawnee Mission Northwest.”
    Early on, it was Hix who provided the bulk of the offense for the Patriots. She helped Truman open up a 19-9 lead in the first quarter by nailing a pair of treys and a 14-foot jumper. The Cougars cut it to 27-22 midway through the second period before Hix weaved her away through a trio of defenders for a tough layup, giving the momentum back to Truman.
    The Patriots went into the third frame with a 34-25 advantage. That's when it became Jonas time. The Cougars cut the Truman lead to one midway through the third, but Jonas responded with a pair of key layups to push the margin back to five.
    Up 50-44 going into the final quarter, Jonas helped keep the Cougars at bay, scoring 11 points and hitting key free throws down the stretch to seal the 12-point victory.
    “We expect those kinds of efforts out of those kids,” Cassity said. “I don't think anyone was surprised. They are great players.”
    These types of performances from Hix and Jonas have helped the 15-1 Patriots maintain their confidence even after losing defensive stalwart Kayla Harrell to a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago.
    Page 2 of 2 - “She left us a big hole,” Jonas said. “She does a lot of things you don't see in the stat book. She jelled our team to together, so in her absence, the rest of the seniors talked, and we knew we had to step up our game.”
    It also helps that Truman was able to win its tournament for the third year in a row, an event which featured some of the best teams in the area. Coming off a big tournament win and being ranked No. 4 in the state, the Patriots feel good about their chances of making a deep playoff run come March.
    “I think our arrow is trending up,” Cassity said. “I like what I see. We start conference play next week, and coming off some quality wins, we definitely have some confidence.”
    LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 64, LIBERTY 52: The Lee’s Summit North Broncos never looked back after taking a 19-13 first-quarter lead in defeating Suburban Big Six rival Liberty in the third-place game of the Truman Invitational Saturday.
    Imani Johnson fired in 23 points to spark North (11-3).
    “We did what we had to do to win,” North coach Tricia Lillygren said. ”We had four solid quarters.”
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