TECUMSEH — It was the Morgan Harwood Show on Thursday night in an opening-round game at the Lady T-Bird Classic Basketball Tournament.
Harwood, a 5-foot-11 junior post player, dominated the lane throughout, scoring a career-high 31 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to lead third-seeded Great Bend High School to a 58-47 victory over host Shawnee Heights.
“Morgan did a great job of not only looking for her shot on the inside because we had a great matchup with her tonight (going up against 6-foot Lilly Stewart, along with the Lady Thunderbirds’ zone defense),” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “When we had our girls taking the open shots, we had Morgan sitting inside on cleanup and she took to that task.
“She got quite a few offensive rebounds and had some nice putback points.”
Great Bend (7-3) advances to play No. 2 seed and Class 6A sixth-ranked Wichita Heights (8-2) tonight at 7 in the semifinals. Heights pounded Junction City 71-23 earlier in the evening.
“Wichita Heights is a great program,” Minton said. “But our girls have been playing really hard and we had an opportunity to see them play.
“We’re going to come out, do our best and play our game.”
Sophomore guard Regan Unruh, playing in her first game since suffering a sprained ankle on Jan. 4, scored all 12 of her points in the second half for the Lady Panthers, who held a 28-25 lead at halftime and never let the Lady T-Birds get close late.
With GBHS holding a 40-34 lead at the outset of the fourth quarter, Harwood and Unruh combined for the Lady Panthers’ next 14 points to extend their lead to 54-43 with 2:45 remaining.
Unruh started the surge with a driving scoop shot, where she was fouled in the act of shooting. She completed the three-point play for a 43-36 lead at the 6:58 mark.
After Harwood later scored on a power move, Unruh popped in a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to expand the margin to 48-39 with 4½ minutes left.
Harwood then went to work with two straight baskets, followed by sinking two free throws for the 11-point lead.
“I just tried to take advantage of all of the opportunities that I got,” said Harwood, who finished 8 of 10 at the line. “You just feel the confidence (shooting the basketball) and it makes you positive.”
Shawnee Heights (5-5) hit a trio of second-quarter 3-pointers to pull within three points at halftime.
But the first half clearly belonged to Harwood, who matched her season high in scoring by intermission with 18 points while hauling in 10 boards.
Great Bend led 4-2 early before Bailey Wells answered with a 3-pointer at the 6:37 mark to give the Lady T-Birds a 5-4 lead, the start of a 7-2 run for a 9-6 advantage midway through the opening period.
Great Bend closed to within 9-8 after Harwood’s basket, and regained the lead at 10-9 on Tarynn Stueder’s drive into the lane for a layup. The Lady Panthers held a 13-9 lead at the 1:42 mark after Harwood converted a three-point play off a putback, before Stewart’s basket with 58 seconds remaining in the period closed the gap to 13-11.
Stueder sank the first of two foul shots with 39 seconds left in the quarter to give GBHS a 14-11 lead after one quarter.
Harwood scored baskets on five straight trips during the second period, helping the Lady Panthers maintain their slim lead at intermission.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
2013 Lady T-Bird Classic
Shawnee Heights High School
Great Bend 58, Shawnee Heights 47
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (5-5)
Danielle Poblarp 2 0-0 6, Mikala Wells 0 2-4 2, Kellen Wittman 0 2-4 2, Haley Brun 0 0-0 0, Samantha Hecker 4 2-2 10, Bailey Wells 6 0-0 15, Blaize Burgess 2 0-2 4, Kelsey Morgan 1 2-2 4, LaRisha Owens 1 0-0 2, Lilly Stewart 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 8-14 47.
GREAT BEND (7-3)
Kelsie Doll 1 0-0 2, Kylee Spray 0 0-0 0, Regan Unruh 5 1-3 12, Kaylie Doll 1 4-5 6, McKenna Mauler 0 2-4 2, Tarynn Stueder 1 3-6 5, Morgan Harwood 11 9-10 31, Madison Unruh 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 19-28 58.
Shawnee Hts 11 14 9 13 — 47
Great Bend 14 14 12 18 — 58
Three-point goals — Shawnee Heights 5 (Wells 3, Doblarp 2); Great Bend 1 (Unruh). Total fouls — Shawnee Heights 22, Great Bend 15. Fouled out — None.