BY KEVIN PRICE
ELLINWOOD — Both teams began slow on Friday night at Ellinwood High School, but the Larned Lady Indians were able to top their host in the end, 35-24.
Both teams traded turnovers for 2 1/2 minutes to begin the game, ending with Larned’s Kaileigh Dietrich getting a steal, one of her five in the game, and driving to the basket for a layup.
Ellinwood and Larned combined for 54 turnovers at the end of four quarters in the Mid-Central Activities Association game.
“We talked a lot this week that we had to put a lot of pressure on people,” Larned head coach Allen Perez said. “We’re getting down to where we are going to have to start pushing and pushing and causing turnovers. We have to start using our quickness and that will hopefully get us more confidence. I’m hoping to really start pushing the ball and really getting after it on defense.”
After a drought by both teams, Darrien Beckwith broke the ice for Ellinwood with 2:46 remaining in the first quarter, scoring on a short jumper.
Then the Lady Indians opened the flood gates.
Brittney Perez began to dribble-drive to the basket and drew fouls. Perez knocked down 1 of 2 free throws on that trip, but made nine return trips to the line, hitting six foul shots.
Shanna Prescott followed Perez’s points with a 3-pointer, her only points in the game.
Dietrich got another two points on a turnover to close the first quarter with a 8-2 Larned lead.
“First half, we just weren’t very good, at all,” Ellinwood head coach Bill Duncan said. “We had 15 turnovers in the first half. We just couldn’t get a shot. There were glimpses where we did things well and things just didn’t fall.
“Our turnovers led to them shooting layups. I think they hit one outside shot in the first half. Everything else was layups or offensive boards.”
Larned went on a 7-2 run to open the second quarter and finished the half by outscoring the Lady Eagles 18-8.
The Lady Indians looked to Brittney Perez, who grabbed three rebounds and had two steals on her way to a game-high 12 points.
Brittanie Miller came off the bench for Larned to ring up 11 points, five boards and four steals.
“Brittanie (Miller) was sick the other day,” Perez said of Miller playing off the bench in the game. “I didn’t really know how she was going to feel up to playing. She was at practice (Thursday), but she didn’t seem like she was up to par. She kept telling me she was OK. She was a little sluggish, but I think she overcame that this game.
“She helped us. I mean, layups, pushed the ball. She handled the ball well, and that’s what we need to do with both (Miller and Brittney Perez).”
Ellinwood, down 28-12 with five minutes remaining in the game, made a 10-2 run led by Lauren Thill, who scored the first four points in the run and finished with six points and four rebounds.
“They started playing basketball,” Duncan said. “They started sharing the ball. A couple of times, we could’ve had them on the ropes and we just didn’t knock down the shots. I had a young team out there.”
Jamie Christianson, who finished the game with a team-leading seven points, followed Thill’s four points with two of her own.
Ellinwood’s Bailey Schartz got the final four points in the run, two from the free-throw line and two from the field. Schartz finished the game with six points and four steals.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Larned 35, Ellinwood 24
Shanna Prescott 1 0-0 3, Bailey Schartz 0 2-2 2, Kaileigh Dietrich 2 1-2 5, Katey Vratil 0 0-2 0, Katie Seeman 0 0-0 0, Danette Unruh 1 0-0 2, Brittney Perez 3 6-8 12, Brittanie Miller 4 3-7 11. Totals 11 12-21 35.
Ashlie Munson 0 0-0 0, Jenna Snell 0 1-4 1, Bailey Schartz 2 2-2 6, Darrien Beckwith 2 0-0 4, Jamie Christiansen 3 1-5 7, Reba Thomas 0 0-0 0, Kenzie Corbett 0 0-0 0, Lauren Thill 3 0-1 6, Becca Strecker 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 4-12 24.
Larned 8 10 8 9 — 35
Ellinwood 2 6 4 12 — 24
Three-point goals — Larned 1 (Prescott); Ellinwood (None).