Kansas.com

All Varsity Kansas Stories

Deep Maize girls begin season with victory

Published Dec. 11 at 7:35 a.m. | Last updated Dec. 11 at 7:36 a.m.

Both Maize girls basketball coach Jerrod Handy and Andover coach Max Hamblin had the same postgame thought concerning the first quarter of Tuesday’s game: If Andover had made a few more of its shots in the lane, it might have been a different game.

Instead, Maize rolled to a 69-43 win over visiting Andover in Maize’s season-opener.

The Trojans (1-1) made 3 of 14 first-quarter shots, missing on fastbreaks and putbacks.

“How many chip shots did we miss? My gosh. And free throws, same thing,” said Hamblin, whose team shot 18 of 33 from the free-throw line, 10 of 38 from the floor.

Handy added: “They helped us out by missing a lot of shots. I thought early on, if they hadn’t missed those easy shots, it could have been a different first half, especially.”

Would it have changed the outcome? Probably not.

Maize used its depth to wear out Andover, as the Eagles had 10 of 11 players score in the first half. Freshman Brianna Johnson had 19 points, hitting five three-pointers, while junior Keiryn Swenson had 16 points, 16 rebounds. The Eagles shot 23 of 65 from the field, including 9 of 22 from three.

The Eagles used their height to dominate the lane. With a starting lineup of four players 5-foot-10 and taller, Maize outrebounded Andover 52-28, including 22-8 on the offensive boards.

Foul trouble forced Andover junior Jaylyn Agnew (5-11), who picked up her second foul to end the first quarter, to play mainly on the perimeter. She had 11 points, eight rebounds.

And Maize used its quickness, forcing 19 turnovers. Katie McClure had four steals, while three teammates had two apiece.

Andover cut Maize’s lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter when Lexi Tilson converted a three-point play. But over the next 4:04, five Maize players scored as the Eagles went on a 17-2 run for a 31-9 lead with 4:13 to go in the second quarter.

It would have been easy to assume that Maize would rely heavily on Swenson and Daley Handy, juniors who have played since their freshmen seasons. And while they absolutely are key components, all the pressure of the team’s success is not solely on them.

“Oh, no,” Swenson said with a laugh. “It’s the whole team. All together. Everyone did amazing tonight. We all did our roles, just like we were supposed to. We all rebounded, our defense was great. We’re all the stars on our team.

“Our bench is so deep, we’re not worried at all if someone’s in foul trouble. We have someone to replace them. And Brianna, she’s just a huge offensive and defnesive threat. She’s very aggressive, she’s always where she’s supposed to be. We’re really glad to have her.”

The depth is a change for Maize, which has finished in the top four in Class 6A the past two seasons.

“We have so much more depth,” Jerrod Handy said. “We have a lot of athletes on the court, so that we won’t have to rely on just one or two players. We can spread it around.”

Andover78121643
Maize172382169

ANDOVER: Tilson 4, Meisch 5, Agnew 11, Messina 2, Day 5, Routhier 3, Hays 1, Preboth 7, Henderson 4, Klusener 1.

MAIZE: Handy 12, Baalman 3, Swenson 16, Johnson 19, Byrd 3, Holmes 6, McClure 1, Roland 5, Watkins 2, Jones 2.