ST. JOHN — Strong defense from the St. John High School girls’ basketball team kept Larned from scoring more than six points in any quarter on Friday night.
The Lady Tigers, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A Division-I in the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll, breezed to a 53-14 win over the Lady Indians.
“We just really worked on playing hard, and harder than we were earlier in the season,” St. John head coach Danny Smith said. “We’re a little smarter now. We’re getting things ironed out as far as those things go. We’re starting to play hard defense without fouling. That is always our emphasis to not let teams run their offense. We want them to have to work hard just to get the ball up the court.”
After trading baskets with Larned, St. John went on a 21-0 run that started with four minutes, 26 seconds left in the first quarter, and ended when Larned’s Jodie Skelton hit a 3-pointer with 2:07 remaining in the second period.
“I don’t know,” Larned head coach Allen Perez said. “We didn’t handle the pressure. We went over it. We just lost our composure. It’s real frustrating right now. I mean, we hustled. We tried. We missed a few easy shots there at the start that we should’ve had, but that’s part of the game. Those little buckets we need to have.”
The Lady Tigers started slow in the first quarter, scoring seven points, but St. John pumped in 22 points in the second quarter to leap ahead.
Jamie Waters sparked the Lady Tigers, coming off of the bench to score 12 points, including seven in the second period.
“It helped getting Jamie back,” Smith said. “This was her first game back after having meniscus surgery. She actually played more than I planned on playing her. She was really excited to play. She’s such a competitor. She’s just really glad to be back and playing again.”
Morgan Osborne led St. John with 13 points and nine steals. She grabbed three rebounds. Osborne scored nine of her 13 points in the second half.
“She has to get mad before she’ll play worth a darn,” Smith said of Osborne. “She got mad at herself because she couldn’t make any shots and she turned the ball over a couple of times, so she got more aggressive on defense. That gave her some easy things on the other end. Then she got into the lane and got things going that way.”
Teresa Wade added 10 points for St. John. Wade finished with three steals.
Larned was led by Tiara Diaz, who put in a pair of 3-pointers on her way to eight points.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
At St. John
St. John 53, Larned 14
Roxy Foster 0 2-2 2, Jodie Skelton 1 0-0 3, Danette Unruh 0 0-1 0, Tiara Diaz 3 0-0 8, Jessi Johnson 0 1-2 1. Totals 4 3-5 14.
ST. JOHN (9-0)
Tia Smith 1 0-2 2, Haley Falk 0 0-0 0, Morgan Osborne 4 4-6 13, Jamie Waters 5 0-1 12, Tara Christie 1 3-3 6, Teresa Christie 2 0-0 4, Rhian Collins 1 0-0 2, Alexis Witt 2 0-0 4, Teresa Wade 5 0-1 10. Totals 21 7-12 53.
Larned 2 6 5 1 — 14
St. John 7 22 16 8 — 53
Three-point goals — Larned 3 (Diaz 2, Skelton); St. John 4 (Waters 2, Osborne, Ta. Christie).