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Patriots give coach win in return to alma mater

By Bill Althaus

Jimmy Page returned to his alma mater Thursday night, sat in the Fort Osage High School gymnasium and took a deep breath.

“This is where I caught the coaching bug, in this gym and at this school,” Page said, “and it’s great to come back.”

His Patriots rewarded their coach with a 57-40 Suburban Middle Six Conference victory as Taliyah Scott and Urya’ Williams combined for 40 points and dominated from both inside and outside.

Williams opened the game with two 3-pointers and finished with 16 while Williams scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the second quarter. Like her backcourt mate, Williams was on fire both inside and outside as she connected on four 3-pointers.

“We knew this was Coach Page’s high school and we really wanted to get him a win tonight,” Scott said. “I thought we played pretty well tonight. We let them back in the game in the second quarter after we got a big lead, but we took care of business in the second half, especially the third quarter.”

Truman (8-6, 3-2 Middle Six) ran off to an early 13-3 lead on Williams’ first 3-pointer, but the Indians roared back to cut the deficit to 15-13 before the Patriots dominated play the remainder of the game.

Scott was unstoppable in the second period and Truman went into the halftime locker room leading 35-23.

“We talked about making some defensive adjustments at the half, and our girls really responded,” Page said after Truman allowed just three points in the third quarter, while scoring 15.

“We’re really playing well now, and everyone is contributing. This has been such a strange season – with COVID protocol and missing some games, and then having girls miss games because of COVID protocol – but I like the way we’re playing.”

So does Scott, who added, “I think we’re playing some of our best basketball right now. We want to do well for Coach Page and for the girls on the team, and we’re playing good team ball. And if we keep doing that we should be successful the rest of the season.”

The Indians (3-11, 0-5) were missing four players, and coach Lindsay Thompson.

“We all miss Coach Thompson, but she will be back soon,” said assistant coach Jordan Lewis, who is filling in as acting head coach. “We’re missing quite a few players and brought up some players from junior varsity, who played a lot in tonight’s JV game.

“But I told the girls before the game, don’t pay any attention to the scoreboard, just go out and play hard and we did. And I’m proud of them for that.”

Brooklynn Gilpin led the Indians with 11 points on the strength of three 3-pointers.