Getting the early lead on William Chrisman wasn’t especially hard for the Truman’s girls basketball team Thursday.
But the host Bears weren’t about to let the Class 5 fourth-ranked Patriots run away from the get-go like the their meeting at the Lee’s Summit North Invitational last month. Chrisman kept on Truman’s heels the better part of three quarters before the Patriots pulled away for a 66-44 victory in the annual Noland Road battle.
Truman coach Steve Cassity, whose team improved to 8-1 with its fifth-straight win over Chrisman, said he anticipated Thursday’s game would be tighter than the North Tournament, when the Patriots raced out to a 22-4 lead en route to a 67-33 win.
“They played hard, defended hard and rebounded; Chrisman always plays tough,” Cassity said. “I expected a more workmanlike game than the first one.”
Truman scored the game’s first seven points on putbacks by Bri Savidge and Becca Jonas and a corner 3-pointer by Abby Hix.
But Chrisman (4-7) stayed within 14-9 through the first quarter despite nine turnovers, thanks to treys by Makenzie Erikson and Asia Young. In the second, after Savidge’s three-point play and transition hoops by Sydney Paialii and Hix had the Patriots up 31-20, Rachel Losch’s four points in the last two minutes pulled the Bears within seven by halftime.
“We tried to keep the ball from Becca, but she did get it sometimes,” Chrisman freshman Bri Burns said. “When Becca gets the ball, she’s good at dishing it off, so we were making sure we got all shooters.”
“I thought the first two quarters we were great,” Chrisman coach Lindsay Thompson said. “We played hard and stuck to the game plan. I wish we would’ve played the last two quarters how we did the first two."
Erikson opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 31-27, but the Bears missed their next attempts. After Adreon Bell’s trey in the final minute, Kayla Harrell’s driving three-point play with 4.9 seconds showing gave the Patriots a 46-34 cushion to start the fourth.
Chrisman never got within single digits again, as Truman hit 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth. The Bears settled down on turnovers, finishing with 20, but they shot 5 of 22 in the second half.
“We had some moments where we kind of panicked and rushed some things offensively,” said Thompson, whose starting lineup had two freshmen and no seniors, “and we missed how many layups? Too many.”
Jonas finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to pace Truman, while Savidge snared six rebounds and scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter. Hix pitched in 11 points, Sydney Paialii popped off the bench for 10 points and Ashley McKinney added four assists and two steals.
“I think we just rebounded a little better and executed our offense a little better,” Cassity said of the second half. “We should be a better rebounding team than we are sometimes, with some of the big girls we have and jumpers like Bri and Lexi (Hart). The nights when we do it, it looks good.”
“I think we started moving the ball more, moving it inside,” added Savidge about the second half. “We moved the ball around and defended better. They do ball screens and have strong post players, so we were concerned about their screen-and-rolls.”
Haley Rodriguez’s 13 rebounds kept Chrisman near-even (30-28) on the boards. Losch had eight points and five rebounds, Young added seven points off the bench and Erikson and Rodriguez had six points apiece.