The Steve Cassity era in Truman girls basketball began in triumphant fashion.

The Steve Cassity era in Truman girls basketball began in triumphant fashion.

Becca Strobbe poured in 16 points, including a 10-of-10 performance at the free-throw line, and grabbed eight rebounds and Kassidy Ritchel added 13 points as the Patriots posted a 50-37 victory over visiting North Kansas City in their season and home opener.

“I was pleased,” said Cassity, who enjoyed great success at Hickman Mills before replacing the legendary Truman coach Pete Hile this year. “We played hard, rebounded and played good defense.”

Truman not only shut down the Hornets on 13-of-47 shooting and 21 turnovers, but displayed more energy offensively.

There were some ill-advised shots. Still, Truman showed it will be a more aggressive team in taking the ball to the basket.

“We played really good defense,” said Strobbe, who is one of only three seniors. “If we work hard, we have some long-range goals to obtain.”

Strobbe swished all 10 of her free throws as Truman went 18 of 24 as a team.

“I’ve been shooting them the same since the seventh grade,” Strobbe said of her free-throw shooting.

A 9-0 run gave Truman a 17-9 lead with 5:36 remaining in the second quarter. The closest the Hornets came after that was 24-17 at halftime.

Truman sealed the victory by outscoring the Hornets 15-6 in the third quarter as Ritchel and Strobbe combined for 10 points.

“We were more confident as individuals and more confident as a team,” said Ritchel, who hit 6 of 13 shots to go with seven rebounds. “We were ready to play. We had been practicing for 14 days. We have been working a lot on defense.”

Strobbe and Ritchel weren’t the whole show. Junior Anne Tomlin scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds in her first varsity start. And 6-foot-1 freshman Ashley Guenther scored seven points.

“We want to play more aggressive,” said Cassity, who coached Hickman Mills to seven consecutive Suburban Small Six girls titles. “It was good first start. I was happy with the kids.”

Truman shot only 15 of 48 from the field and had 22  turnovers. But a 34-32 rebounding edge, defense and the strong free-throw shooting were too much for the Hornets.

“Our girls were intimidated by their aggressiveness,” North Kansas City coach Jeff Klein said. “Truman is a good team. Steve has them going. We are a young team. For three-fourths of the girls, it was their first varsity game. We missed 16 layups. If we make half, we win the game. We are a work in process.”

Truman, however, also missed some easy shots.

Senior standout Morgan Reid paced the Hornets with 15 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. She also had eight rebounds.

There was no junior varsity game because Truman’s JV was playing in the Liberty Tournament.