Even though school was canceled because of inclement weather Monday, that didn’t stop the Fort Osage basketball team from coming into its home gym and getting some extra shots up.
The Indians were preparing for their matchup with Lee’s Summit in the first round of the Winnetonka Invitational’s Cardinal Division bracket, which was moved from Monday at Winnetonka to Fort Osage’s own gym Tuesday.
On the unexpected off day, they played a game called Sevens, in which players take seven shots from the same spot behind the 3-point line and the one who makes the most wins. Even with so many solid shooters on the team, it wasn’t a player who won. It was head coach Lindsay Thompson.
“We had a pretty relaxed shootaround yesterday with the snow,” said Thompson, a former standout player for Fort Osage. At the end of practice, we decided to play Sevens. I guess I found out I still have it.”
Turns out her players do, too, as they shot well against the Tigers Tuesday. The Indians shot 5-for-11 from beyond the arc and made 14 of 29 shots from the field in the first half on the way to a 51-24 win.
Fort Osage advanced to play North Kansas City in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today at Winnetonka.
“We came in around 4:15 (p.m.) and got some shots up,” said sophomore point guard Kiyley Flowers, who had a game-high 15 points in front of NCAA Division I college scouts who came to watch her play. “We’re all just practicing and keeping warm. It helped us come in here with energy.
“I know we’re going to have to box out against (North Kansas City). They are a really athletic team. If we let them outrebound us, we’re going to lose. We have to have at least 15 more rebounds than them.”
Fort Osage’s terrific first-half ball movement and tenacious defense spurred a big first quarter Tuesday. The Indians started the game with an 18-0 run before Lee’s Summit’s Jordan Gilkin completed a three-point play with 2 minutes left in the first period. The Indians built that 18-3 lead after one quarter to 38-12 by halftime.
A zone press created problems for Lee’s Summit in the first half, as the Indians forced 20 total turnovers. Fort Osage (2-0) has held both of its opponents this season to fewer than 30 points.
“We’ve been talking really well together and have worked on switching on screens,” senior Alecia Monday said. “We make sure we can get through the screens and take away the gaps. That’s really paid off so far this season.
“The past few weeks we’ve been working on our press defense to make sure we get our traps in the corners before they get to half-court.”
The defensive intensity carried over into the third quarter as the Indians held the Tigers to 1-for-9 shooting from the floor and forced seven turnovers. They went into the fourth period up 47-14, which led to a mercy clock and allowed Thompson to go deep into her bench.
“It’s fantastic to get more girls in,” Thompson said. “Our JV kids come and compete every single day. And that’s what we want them to do. While they are competing, they know they are fighting for a chance to get on the floor. They got out there today, and did a good job.”
Monday and Rachel Buntin led the defensive effort with three steals each. Monday added eight points, two rebounds and three assists. Buntin chipped in with three rebounds and an assist.