The Atchison High School girls basketball team put on a show for the home crowd on Tuesday night over a fairly hapless visiting side from Washington High School.
The Lady Red, in just their second victory of the season and their first such accomplishment at home, secured a 53-20 win over the Lady Cats in four quarters of dominance powered by sophomore Katy Harris scoring virtually at will over the visitors at the AHS gym.
Harris ultimately logged a career high of 28 points and multiple assists, with junior Ayden Saunders most often having a role in feeding her offensive appetite from every which direction that suited the home team; Saunders herself scored 9 points, and junior Zamauria Herring scored 7 points.
“It feels really good, I mean, I’ve never been able to do this in my whole time playing high school basketball, so yeah,” Harris said. “It’s the most I’ve been able to do, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.”
Head Coach Blaine Clardy said that after multiple nearly missed opportunities to score victories at home and on the road in the first half of the season, he’s pleased to begin the 2020 games with two victories, and feels like improvement has really happened in the time the Lady Red have had off.
“I feel like we are just gelling together so much better right now as a team,” Clardy said. “The cohesion is just not what it was like before. The girls have really done well to improve their confidence in themselves and in each other.”
The first quarter saw a healthy amount of offensive from both sides, but the visiting Lady Cats struggled early on with shooting from the floor, and were nearly shut out in the initial five minutes of play. The Lady Red took advantage and executed coordinated plays to find cracks in the loose man-to-man defense of the Lady Cats with relative ease.
The second quarter set the tone for the rest of the game, with Harris and Herring each recording more than fast break, with the Lady Cats showing some ball control issues. The Lady Cats were very nearly unable to get on the board at all in the second quarter, with the only offense coming from a last-minute two point bucket. The Lady Red headed into halftime with a 30-11 advantage.
“Katy really had success on the foul line, and then just getting herself posted up and really looking for a shot and having the focus to take it when it was there,” Clardy said. “She also looks after her other teammates too, so that it wasn’t just one-sided scoring. I thought she played a great game.”
Atchison began to triple up on the visitors in the earlier minutes of the third quarter, before the Lady Cats found new momentum. However, it didn’t amount to much and the final quarter of play began with a 43-18 Lady Red advantage. Clardy took Harris out the game after she accumulated four fouls, the matter was decided.
Harris said she’s optimistic about her future high school basketball career.
“I hope that this sets me on the path to being an all-around player,” Harris said. “I want all of to have the skills and the confidence to not just do any one thing well. I want to be like, a leader too. You know what I mean? I want to do everything.”
The Lady Red, 2-6, will continue a home stand against the F.L. Schlagle Lady Stallions, with the varsity girls tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.