Special to the Grove Sun
KANSAS-In what has become something of a fan favorite, Kansas and Jay opened the basketball season again this year Tuesday evening at J. O. Jones Gymnasium in the first of their annual home and away cross county rivalry. And despite the looming Thanksgiving holiday a full house turned out to see the Jay Lady Bulldogs put a first half scare into the defending state champion. And while the Lady Comets were eventually able to overcome their feisty guests, the Bulldog boys outran the home team from wire to wire.
In the lady’s contest, Jay took advantage of a half dozen Kansas turnovers in the opening quarter and scored four each by Talisa Budder and Laura Whitely, to go with a Shalesah Myers trey and a Megan Ritter free throw to hang a dozen on the scoreboard. And despite beating Jay on the boards by an 8-3 margin, the Lady Comets shot a frigid 3 of 13 from the floor for only eight points of their own.
Leading by four, the Lady Bulldogs had the opportunity to build on their lead when Kansas coughed up possession five times early in the subsequent period. Jay couldn’t find a bucket until the 4:00 mark and eventually turned the ball over five times as well. But the story within the story was that Kansas’s 6-3, post, Heather Marshall, was whistled for her third foul by the midway point of the stanza and forced to take a seat. And while Carrie Kirby put in seven of her team’s nine second quarter points, the Lady Comets had to settle for another eight-point period to trail 21-16 at the break.
But the grim uneasiness that had fallen over Comet Nation during the intermission quickly dissipated with the commencement of the second half. After Jay’s Lauren Wilson buried a three-pointer to start the third, the Kansas defense went to work. The Lady Bulldogs missed on their next 10 floor attempts and the Lady Comets hauled in nine rebounds that opened the door for seven points each from Kelsey Barnwell and game high scorer Courtney Cowan.
Jay struggled from the stripe as well, by converting on only 3 of 9 attempts. Conversely the home town girls knocked down 7 of their 10 free throw tries to take a 34-31 lead into the final frame. Dominating the boards 9-3, Kansas went on a 12-3 run to start the fourth. With Cowan adding another half dozen to go with four each from Marshall and Haley Blackwood, the Lady Comets pulled away for the 50-39 final.
Things started out roughly for the Comet boys as the Bulldogs forced them into committing seven first quarter turnovers. And while Kansas was busy giving up the ball, Jay went on an 11-0 run before the Comets called a timeout to regroup, with 4:18 in the period.
Another minute ticked off the clock before the home team got on the scoreboard. Jay’s Brent Smoke put in six of his team high 13 that ,in addition to a trey and a deuce by Cotton Benge, accounted for the bulk of the Bulldog’s 19 first quarter points. Trailing by 14, Kansas put together their best offensive effort of thegame in the ensuing chapter. Corey Cowan scored five of his game high 15 points that, in addition to three each from Brett Odle and Ethan Faucett, anchored the Comet’s 15-point period. But seven Bulldogs got together to trump the Kansas effort with 15 of their own and a 34-20 halftime lead.
With the onset of the second half, Jay’s Brent Smoke continued with the hot hand and poured in half of his team’s 14 third quarter points. Kansas took better care of the ball, but it took six Comets scoring a bucket each to score a dozen and fall further behind. In the final period, seniors Kyle Shambaugh and Chuck Larrabee put in a pair of buckets each to lead a 17-point onslaught that paced the Bulldog’s 65-44 road victory.
Kansas 50, Jay 39 (Girls)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Jay 12 9 10 8 39
Kansas 8 8 18 16 50
J: Whitely 9, Kirby 7, Budder 6, Ritter 5, Wilson 5, Meyers 3, Edge 2, Sherwood 2
K: Cowan 16, Barnwell 15, Blackwood 6, Marshall 6, Proctor 4, Sizer 2, Nipps 1
Jay 65, Kansas 44 (Boys)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Jay 19 15 14 17 65
Kansas 5 15 12 12 44
J: Brent Smoke 13, Ramsey 9, Benge 8, Shambaugh 8, Larrabee 7, Brett Smoke 6, Buzzard 4, Sloan 4, L. Smoke 4, Jones 2
K: Cowan 16, Lankston 7, Fausett 5, Catcher 4, Odle 3, Duncan 2, B. Kendrick 2, C. Kendrick 2, L. Kendrick 2, Lamont 1