Truman has but three seniors on its girls basketball roster, and one of them had been out for a while. So it’s safe to say the Patriots are rather young.
They looked anything but young in their season opener Monday night.
Truman drove to the basket at will, forced turnovers and dominated from the opening quarter and rolled to a 62-26 victory at Lee’s Summit North. And while seniors Deon Monroe and Jewel Hart provided most of the firepower, the Patriots also got a big boost from one of the freshmen on the floor.
“We’ve got a brand-new team, but I love it,” said Monroe, who led the Patriots with 18 points. “I love my teammates. They’re fast, they’re good with the ball or without the ball. We’ve got a lot of chemistry.”
Truman used that chemistry to drive inside to either make shots or draw fouls. And when Lee’s Summit North had the ball, the Patriots used their quickness to force 15 turnovers.
Hart, a once-promising freshman who missed the last two seasons with a knee injury, put in 13 points and fellow senior Abby Whiting made the Patriots’ lone 3-pointer.
“We have a veteran presence with Deon and Abby,” Truman coach Steve Cassity said. “And Jewel’s a senior but she really doesn’t have senior game experience. When a kid’s been gone that long she’s got to knock off some rust, and she had a great game tonight.”
But this game was also the debut for the newcomers, most notably freshman Urya’ Williams. A diminutive point guard, Williams slashed her way to 15 points, many on layups off steals.
“She was fantastic tonight,” Cassity said of Williams. “She’s such an instinctive player. She does so many things you can’t coach.”
Truman led 14-9 after the first quarter, and Lee’s Summit North hung around until Truman opened the second period with a 12-4 run. It began with Monroe driving the lane and scoring on a putback, Hart making a reverse layup after rebounding Monroe’s missed and-one free throw and Williams laying up a mid-court steal.
“We do have shooters of course, but driving is what we like to do,” Monroe said.
It worked well enough to put Truman up 37-17 by halftime and 51-22 after a 12-2 outburst midway through the third quarter. The Patriots took a 57-24 lead into a running-clock fourth period.
Elauni Bennett, a freshman guard, scored 12 points to lead Lee’s Summit North, which like the Patriots are also a young squad with only two seniors.
“It’s good that we got a game scenario before break because it gives us time to work on things,” Lee’s Summit North coach Tricia Lillygren said. “Truman’s an awesome team. They have three kids we couldn’t control one bit.”