The smile on Niya Golden-King’s face said it all.
The 6-foot senior center got her first start for the Truman girls basketball team and wanted to savor every moment of a 63-26 Suburban Middle Six victory over Raytown and the joyous post-game autograph party in a banquet room outside the gymnasium.
“This is so amazing, so wonderful, so exciting,” said Golden-King, who finished with three points, four rebounds and a blocked shot. “I’ve never started a game, and I was so nervous. I was really, really nervous. Then, I missed my first free throw, but hit the second one and then I got a rebound and I began to feel better.”
It was Senior Night at Truman, and coach Steve Cassity started Golden-King along with standouts Brodi Byrd and Erin Davis, whose smiles matched that of their teammate as she talked about her first start.
“It was all pretty amazing,” added Byrd, who scored 21 points, “and we’re all happy that Niya got the start tonight. She deserved it.”
Davis, who finished with 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, agreed.
“Amazing and exciting – a lot of emotions out there,” Davis said. “Getting a double/double on senior night is pretty cool. We all had a lot of fun out there.”
Cassity called it a special Senior Night.
“It was perfect,” Cassity said after the Patriots improved to 15-5 overall and 5-0 in league play. “We wanted to start our three seniors and they all contributed. It was really neat to see how excited Niya was and Brodi and Erin went out and did their thing.
“They do a lot to fill a scorebook. How about Erin getting 14 boards? We’d like to see a lot more of that this season.”
Truman, with its three seniors on the floor, ran off to an 18-4 first-quarter lead and never looked back, padding the margin to 33-12 by halftime.
The Blue Jays (5-11, 0-5) had no answer for Davis and Byrd from the outside and sophomore point guard Deon Monroe, who controlled the tempo of the game and owned the paint, driving the lane for a game-high 22 points. She was also 8 of 9 from the free throw line.
“This starts the second round of conference and you can’t get off to a much better start than we had tonight,” Cassity said. “This is the time of year you want to be playing your best ball, and we did that tonight.”
Domonique Bivins came off the bench and led the Blue Jays with nine points.