Season basketball openers have a tendency to get wild and ugly.

Monday night’s Truman versus host North Kansas City girls game followed that script.

Season basketball openers have a tendency to get wild and ugly.

Monday night’s Truman versus host North Kansas City girls game followed that script.

The Patriots hit only 8 of 29 shots and had 24  turnovers. But 21-of-35 free-throw shooting, including an 11-of-14 performance in the fourth quarter, and a 31-26 rebounding edge enabled the Patriots to the host Hornets 36-30.

Jayme Smith hit 4 of 6 free throws and Kelsey Quirarte made all four of her attempts in the fourth quarter as Truman’s final 11 points came at the line. They made more foul shots in the quarter than the Hornets had as a team (4 of 13).

“When I hit the first one, I got some confidence,” Smith said. “I didn’t do much in the first half and then helped out in the second half. We needed the win. We lost a lot of seniors from last year. We had a lot good backups off the bench.”

Smith’s free throw with 32.7 seconds remaining gave Truman the lead for good at 31-30. She hit another free throw 11 seconds later and then two more with 8.9 seconds remaining. Two Quirarte free throws with 6.3 seconds left assured the win.

“They did us a favor by fouling us,” Truman coach Pete Hile said.

North Kansas City hit only 11 of 51 shots and had 22 turnovers, including three down the stretch that ruined any comeback hopes. But four 3-pointers, including three by Jasmine Harris, kept the Hornets in the game.

“The kids played hard,” Hile said. “From a technical standpoint, we missed too many easy shots. At times we didn’t play smart. There was a lot of shoving and pushing. There was no flow to the game. But we hit the free throws at the end.”

Entering the fourth quarter, the Patriots trailed 26-21 because of 10-of-21 free-throw show shooting and a 6-of-25 showing from the field.

But with the game on the line, the Patriots responded.

“We were really nervous,” said Kassidy Ritchel, who led Truman with nine points and nine rebounds and who played  the entire game except for several minutes in the second quarter.

“I had the jitters really bad and still at halftime,” she said. “We played good as a team. Everybody worked hard. We did miss a lot of easy shots. But in the last quarter we pulled through. Our conditioning help.”

The free throws weren’t the only thing to boost the Patriots. They also played strong defense.

“We missed 18 layups,” North Kansas City coach Jeff Klein said. “I am disappointed we lost. But our kids played their tails off. I feel pretty good about our prospects. Our best player (Morgan Reid) was only 75 percent (after injuring an ankle in practice last Friday). I couldn’t ask for any more.”

Reid led all scorers with 10 points despite sitting out a quarter because of fouls.

Quirarte had eight points and seven rebounds for Truman. Her 3-pointer was Truman’s only third-quarter field goal. Smith finished with seven points.


Truman (1-0): Kalli Ritchell 1 0-1 2, Smith 1 5-10 7, Kassidy Ritchell 2 5-8 9, Quirarte 1 5-7 8, Kremer 1 4-5 6, Eggers 1 0-0 2, Jensen 0 1-2 1, Eisman 1 1-2 3, Strobe 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 21-25 36.
North Kansas City (0-1): Luerding 0 0-2 0, Reid 4 2-4 10, Shelton 1 1-4 3, Harris 3 0-0 9, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 1-2 1, Franklin 0 0-0 0, Santee 3 0-1 6. Totals 11 4-13 30.
TRUMAN    11    5    5    15    —    36
NKC               8    9    9       4    —    30
Three-point goals: Quirarte, Harris 3, Reid. Total fouls: NKC 25, Truman 16. Fouled out: Shelton.