The Neosho County Panthers put together a full-team, full-game effort to handily defeat the Hesston Larks in Kansas Jayhawk Conference action here Wednesday.
“Today was sort of a trap game. We were in it with the No. 7 team in the country (on Saturday), then all of the sudden you come home and play a team you’re supposed to beat,” Neosho County head coach JJ Davis said. “I’m super proud of them, they came out and did what they were supposed to do.”
The score was far from an issue fairly early on in the matchup, as the Panthers got out to a 20-point advantage in the second quarter and never relented.
Hesston made a short run midway through the third quarter, but Neosho County doubled down.
“Our scorebacks were really good today. When they scored, we got the ball back down their throat really fast,” Davis said. “When we’re playing at our pace, it’s hard to guard.”
Because of the large lead, Davis was able to bench his starters for the final frame. Neosho County’s freshmen picked up vital game experience, each on the court for a minimum of seven minutes. Some off the bench played as many 15 minutes.
As always, the press was on heavy from wire-to-wire, forcing 36 turnovers out of the Larks.
“We’ve been trying different matchups. Everyday we get a little bit better with it,” Davis said. “This is a tough part of the year where everybody is tired and you’ve gotta find ways to get rest.”
Scoring, like the defensive effort, was a team-wide affair. All 14 Panthers to hit the court netted at least a pair of points.
Sophomore Zariyah Washington ran the point to near perfection on the night. Washington shot 7-of-10 from the floor for a game-high 16 points, adding five rebounds, two assists and a steal in the process.
“That’s a kid that has bought in during her time here, and she’s one of the best point guards in the nation. I can’t wait until someone finds that out, comes and gets her,” Davis said.
Sophomore Chantoriya Rivers had 12 points and seven rebounds and freshman Meadow Gillespie netted 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from deep. Freshman Baylee Davis grabbed a trio of steals to go with her 11 points, while sophomore Kori Babcock dropped in 10 of her own.
The Panthers improved to 16-7 overall and 3-5 in KJCCC play, while Hesston fell to 10-11 and 1-7.
Neosho County now prepares for a second straight weekend road trip. The Panthers take on the Highland Scotties (17-7, 6-2 KJCCC) at 1 pm on Saturday.
“It’s gonna be a dog fight,” Davis said.
Hesston: 6 10 20 14 — 50
Neosho: 18 24 28 29 — 99
Hesston: Kaley Phillips 14, Loribeth Miller 11, Kylee Ohman 6, Kirah Stepps 4, Samantha Espinoza 4, Heaven Trapp 3, Trinity Ramirez 3, Feather Two Shields 3, Corbin Parnell 2
Neosho: Zariyah Washington 16, Chantoriya Rivers 12, Meadow Gillespie 11, Baylee Davis 11, Kori Babcock 10, Jahniya Brown 10, Breonna Carey 9, Myah Coleman 5, Nicole Szadkowska 3, DeMia Jackson 3, Dawnyale Bruce 3, Im’Unique White 2, Toriauna Douglas 2, Khlalyah Willis 2
Kansas Jayhawk Conference Standings
Johnson County (23-0, 8-0)
Labette (18-4, 7-1)
Highland (17-7, 6-2)
Kansas City (15-9, 6-2)
Neosho County (16-7, 3-5)
Allen (14-9, 3-5)
Hesston (10-11, 1-7)
Fort Scott (10-14, 0-8)
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