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Maize girls beat Wichita Heights to win Shawnee Heights title

Published Jan. 26 at 8:14 p.m. | Last updated Jan. 26 at 8:14 p.m.

There was no clearer proof of the physical nature of the Shawnee Heights title game between Maize and Heights than the trickle of blood from about an inch-long scratch on Maize sophomore Keiryn Swenson’s right temple. Oh, then there was the blood spattered on her white uniform coming from somewhere on her left hand.

The smile on Swenson’s face, though, revealed the magnitude of Maize’s 52-44 win.

“(Heights is) an amazing team, and we knew it was going to be hard,” said Swenson, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and made 10 of 10 free throws. “We had been practicing, drilling. We were on fire. It wasn’t just one person. It was everyone. We played so well.”

The intensity is what Maize coach Jerrod Handy needed to see from the Eagles. Over the previous three games, two wins in the tournament and a loss at Olathe Northwest, Handy hadn’t seen that.

But getting hyped up for Heights, the two-time defending champ, wasn’t a problem.

“We were guarding people harder than we’ve done in the past,” said Handy, whose team outrebounded Heights 35-23. “Just talking, our communication, was so good.”

The inner fire Maize had is what Heights coach Kip Pulliam said is missing from his team, which has lost three games in January after losing two in the past three seasons combined.

“For three quarters we played really well,” Pulliam said. “Same script all year. Same comments I made before. We’ve got to find a way to finish a game. We do fine in games where we have big leads. We get in a close game right now, we just don’t know how to finish a game and take care of business.”

Heights, which was led by Jharian Bowen’s 15 points and six rebounds, led 35-26 with 4:56 to go in the third, but Maize outscored the Falcons 26-9 the rest of the way.

Heights was 0-of-11 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter and was outscored 19-4 in the period.

With 5:57 to go and Heights leading by four, Bowen was called for a technical for pushing Swenson while they were on the ground after battling for a rebound. Paige Lungwitz hit two free throws and on the ensuing Maize possession, Swenson made two free throws.

Lungwitz had a game-high 22 points, hitting 11 of 12 free throws, including 6 of 6 in the fourth. Maize was 25 of 34 from the free-throw line, while Heights was 10 of 16.

“It was a rough game, and it kind of ruffled our feathers a little bit,” Swenson said. “Our intensity picked up, and we went after everything we could get.”

Heights had chances, but Maize’s defense came through.

Heights threw an errant pass down 46-44 with 1:45 to go. Down 50-44 in the final 55 seconds, Heights missed three shots.

“We were all trying to fight and keep our composure,” Lungwitz said. “… We know how tough they battle against you. We ended up doing well there.”

Northwest 64, Shawnee Heights 54 – Northwest trailed at the half by one point and then outscored Shawnee Heights 22-8 in the third quarter to finish seventh at the Shawnee Heights tournament.

Northwest was led by sophomore Cassie Pauls, who was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the final period. Rhiannon Taylor added 12 points, while Cassidy Harbert had 11

Heights16915444
Maize1013101952

Heights– Palmer 5 0-0 11, Lynch 4 2-2 13, Bowen 3 7-12 15, Reid 1 0-0 2, Trussell 1 0-0 2, Harding 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Parks 0 1-2 1. Totals 14 (6) 10-16 44.

Maize – Baalman 0 2-5 2, Lungwitz 5 11-12 22, Swenson 4 10-10 18, Handy 0 1-4 1, Byrd 3 1-3 7, Watkins 1 0-0 2, McClure 0 0-0 0, Meghan Grimes 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 (1) 25-34 52.

Shawnee Heights71682354
Northwest814222064

Shawnee Heights – Poblarp 4 0-0 10, Tucker 0 1-2 1, Brun 1 1-2 3, Hecker 1 0-2 2, Wells 4 0-2 10, Burgess 0 5-6 5, Morgan 3 7-9 14, Meier 1 0-0 3, Crossley 0 0-1 0, Owens 1 2-2 4, Stewart 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 (6) 16-26 54.

Northwest– Cramer 2 3-4 8, Taylor 4 2-2 12, Harbert 5 0-1 11, Steiner 1 0-0 2, McIntyre 1 1-2 3, Cotman 2 5-9 9, Wilson 20-0 4, Pauls 3 6-7 13, Hall 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 17-25 64..