Fort Osage coach Lindsay Thompson was visiting with the scorer’s table staff before her Thursday night home game against conference opponent Raytown.
“We haven’t played for 23 days,” Thompson said, “so I’m excited to see how we play.”
For one quarter her Indians were right in the hunt, taking a 16-15 lead into the second quarter. But the rest of the game belonged to coach Elysseia Dunn’s Blue Jays, who claimed a 61-49 Suburban Middle Seven Conference victory.
“I saw them play earlier in the week,” Thompson said after Fort Osage fell to 3-6 overall and 0-2 in league action, “and they were like 2 of 16 from 3-point range. Tonight, they had to shoot 60 percent from the 3-point area and they dominated us inside (the Blue Jays hit 7 of 12 3-pointers).
“But I am so proud of our girls. We kept battling, and we’re so young. We can learn so much from this game. This is a learning experience that will make us a better team as we go into the rest of the season.”
That wasn’t just coach talk, as freshman Macie Smith echoed Thompson’s comments.
“We are young and I think we need to get tougher – playing-wise and emotionally,” said Smith, who finished 10 points after battling the Blue Jays’ much larger post players in the paint.
“Coach Thompson has made me a tougher player, and I play a lot of basketball in the driveway with my dad and that makes me tough. There are so many things we can take away from tonight’s game and that is what we talked about after the game in the locker room.”
Thompson was a tough-as-nails guard for the Indians during the Dale Williams’ era and she said this Indians team is a work in progress.
“We just have two seniors, and I see improvement week to week, game to game and quarter to quarter,” Thompson said. “That is a good Raytown team – they’re going to win a lot of games. But I think as the season goes on we will be able to compete with them and the other teams in our conference.”
The 4-3 and 1-1 Blue Jays are also young as they do not have a senior on the team. Sophomore guard Stevi Yancey led the Blue Jays with 18 points, as she drove the lane with confidence.
“We have a good, young team and we’re excited about Stevi and all our players,” Dunn said. “Coach Thompson does such a great job with her teams. I thought our defense was the difference tonight.
“Holding them to just six points and taking that (29-22) lead into the half was big. And then we were able to build on it the second half.”
Fort Osage junior Kiyley Flowers led all scorers with 20 points and had a couple of behind-the-back passes that elicited cheers from the home fans.
“We’re going to keep getting better,” said Smith, who scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter. “We did our best to make it close and we didn’t get a win, but we kept playing hard and that is important.”