Despite the final score, Tricia Lillygren and her Lee’s Summit North High School girls basketball team had plenty to celebrate following Monday’s Senior Night.
They made a strong comeback but couldn’t find a way to get past visiting Blue Springs South as the Jaguars claimed a 57-51 Suburban Big Six victory in the last week of the regular season.
The win was huge for the Jaguars as they had dropped three in a row and four of their last five, and while the night belonged to the five seniors on the Broncos, South coach Kory Lower was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We needed a win – we really needed a win,” said Lower, whose Jaguars are 17-6 overall and 5-4 in league play. “Maybe this win will convince our girls the sky’s not falling.
“We had played so well most of the season and we’ve run into some tough competition and just haven’t played that well the last week or so, so this win is just what we needed with districts coming up next week.”
While the Broncos held a huge rebounding edge, grabbing 24 offensive boards along the way, the Jaguars got off to a hot start and managed to maintain a lead throughout the rest of the game.
“It was really tough inside,” said South forward Lauren Gillig, who finished with 13 points. “They had so many offensive rebounds. That’s something we have to do to keep our season going in the playoffs, is do a better job rebounding.
“But tonight it didn’t hurt us that much because they missed some of their layups. If they had made them, it could have been a long night for us.”
Lower could sense his team needed a boost in this final week of the regular season, so he showed the Jaguars some film of their better efforts this season.
“That was good when Coach showed what we were doing early in the season when we were playing so well,” said guard Jaidynn Mason, who scored a team-high 20 points. “We could see what we did well, and go out and play like that again. We had a (10-point) lead early tonight and even though they came after us, we were able to hold on and get the win.”
After the game, the gym was closed for a special players-only celebration – a longstanding Broncos tradition.
“We’re playing so much better now than we did early in the season,” said Lillygren, whose Broncos are 7-15 and 2-7. “We’re winning at a lot of things you don’t see on the scoreboard.
“Tonight, it might be a different game if we make a few putbacks. But we hustled and played hard and that’s all a coach can ask. I’m so proud of this team.”
Meleah Grayson led the Broncos with 11 points and Elauni Bennett and Halle Fee added 10 each.