The arrival of one of the most anticipated freshmen in the history of the Fort Osage High School girls basketball program didn’t just live up to most expectations, it exceeded them.
Kiyley Flowers, a 14-year-old, 5-foot-9 point guard, led the charge as the Indians claimed an 54-36 victory over visiting Pembroke Hill Monday night.
Flowers led a defense that forced 12 turnovers in the first three minutes of the game, leading a quick 10-2 Indians lead. Fort Osage finished with 28 forced turnovers, with Flowers getting seven steals.
She added a game-high 17 points, four assists and five boards to wrap up her impressive debut.
“She just turned 14,” Fort Osage coach Lindsay Thompson said. “It was pretty amazing getting all those early turnovers with so many fouls being called.
“Our girls were very aggressive defensively tonight and a lot of those turnovers turned into easy baskets. You appreciate all your wins coming off a season where we won just two games, and this was a good way to start. Everyone really played well tonight. Kiyley is one of those rare players who makes everyone else on the court better. She’s going to have a great career.”
Flowers kept her teammates involved in the game as she scored four points in the first quarter, five in the second, four in the third and four in the fourth and always dished the ball off to an open Indians player.
“This win will knock my nerves down a little bit,” Flowers said, as her younger brother and sister stood with her at center court following the big win. “We started off with a win, but I think we can play a lot better than we did tonight.
“We had a lot of energy tonight – maybe a little bit too much energy because of all of our fouls. But Coach Thompson wants us to play aggressive and play strong defense, and I thought we did that tonight.”
Flowers’ presence on the court was never more visible than at the 3:03 mark of the second quarter when she actually guarded two Raiders on the same possession.
They were close together and could not manage a pass between them as Flowers stripped the ball and went down court for a layup.
“We were at a basketball camp at UCM (University of Central Missouri) and Kiyley was playing with our team when an assistant coach from UCM came up and asked if she was the class of 2019,” Thompson said, grinning. “I told the coach she was a freshman.
“She was invited to play a pickup game with the UCM players later that night, and she was the best player on the court.
“And the best part about Kiyley’s game is that she is so coachable – she really pays attention to everything you say, during a game and at practice.”