Hannah Jones' late trey in 51-39 loss at undefeated Columbia: Hickman breaks Katie Stephens' Lady Hornets' career record for 3-pointers
COLUMBIA, Mo. — A game which, while being their first loss of the 2016-17 season, did the Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets proud this afternoon ended on a special note, despite the loss.
Having battled highly-regarded host Columbia: Hickman on virtually even terms for the better part of three quarters before a Lady Kewpies spurt put the Columbians’ 51-39 win on ice, the Lady Hornets ended the game by crowning a new queen of 3-pointers in their 43-years-old program’s modern history.
A second before the final horn, senior guard Hannah Jones accepted a pass from classmate Whitney Clampitt and flipped home a 3-points shot from left of the key to not only set the final score, but also make Han. Jones the Lady Hornets’ all-time leader in 3-points baskets.
Her second triple of the day gave her 107 now, moving her ahead of mid-1990s All-Stater Katie Stephens, who popped home 106 in her stellar career.
Han. Jones began the season only 10 shy of catching Stephens.
That is awesome. I’m so proud of her.” third-year CHS head coach Darren Smith stated in a post-game broadcast interview.
While that was an individual highlight of the game – one which also reflects on the talent and unselfishness of the new record-holder’s teammates the past 3-plus seasons, Smith noted, it was not the only bright spot for the Lady Hornets, even as they tasted defeat for the first time this winter.
Facing a tall, talented Lady Kewpies club on its court, Chillicothe trailed by only six points, 34-28, early in the final quarter after two Katelyn Parkey free throws had continued a CHS surge which had halved a 30-18 deficit the Lady Hornets had faced late in the first half.
Treys from Parkey and Karson Keithley and two Clampitt foul shots in a low-scoring third stanza had shaved one point off Hickman’s 30-21 halftime lead.
When Lady Kewpies 5’11” senior center Nyjah White, daughter of one-time University of Missouri Tigers player Albert White and an All-State choice a year ago, was called for an over-the-back foul on a rebound, some momentary confusion among the officials apparently prompted a brief moment of frustration from the player. She was whistled for a technical foul, which – in addition to the rebounding infraction – left her with four fouls and sent CHS to the free-throw stripe at the other end of the court for two shots.
Parkey, who led Chillicothe’s scoring on the day with 11 tallies, sank both to draw the visitors within six points.
Receiving possession of the ball, as well, after the charity tosses, Chillicothe had a chance to get within one possession, but couldn’t get a 3-pointer to fall.
“If that ‘3’ goes in, then we’re really jacked at that point,” Smith said of the key moment. “I don’t know what’s going to happen (if it goes in, cutting the deficit to three), but I’d have liked our chances.”
As it was, Hickman (7-0) rebounded the miss and, in transition, senior guard/forward Danni Nichols scored while being fouled on a drive into the paint. Completing the three-points play with her free throw – one of nine she hit in 13 attempts on the day, Nichols sent the Lady Kewpies on their way toward a clinching 15-6 surge.
“She’s quite a player,” Smith said of Nichols, who unofficially also his seven of her 11 field-goal tries in a 23-points performance. “She’s a shooter, but she can ‘slash,’ too. If you come out at her, she can go around you.”
While that fourth-quarter run iced the victory for the Columbia club, an off-form start by the Lady Hornets had put them “behind the 8-ball” early.
Hitting four free throws in four tries, Hickman got out to a 6-1 lead and CHS was only briefly within one possession thereafter, drawing within 8-6 on Maggie Leatherman’s first trey of the year from the right wing with a bit over three minutes left in the first frame.
“I think we were just amped a little too much when we came out” to start the game, reflected Smith. “We were in a hurry and couldn’t get slowed down and got down right off the bat.”
The first half was headlined by tight defense by the Lady Kewpies on CHS All-State guard/forward Clampitt and the Columbia club prospering more at the foul line.
Clampitt was held without a field goal in the first 16 minutes, not even getting a handful of shot attempts. She also got to the free-throw stripe only once, making one of two tries there.
Chillicothe made only two of its first six free throws, twice misfiring at the start of a bonus chance, before reserve forward Emma Leamer swished a pair late in the half.
Hickman, on the other hand, was eight of 11 on charities before intermission and unofficially 19 of 27 for the game, nailing nine of its last 10 to pull away.
Statistically, in addition to Parkey’s and Nichols’ team-topping points totals, Clampitt, CHS’ top scorer on the year, was held to one field goal – a trey in the last two minutes – and six points. Han. Jones netted nine. For Hickman, Cassie Kent added in 10.
Unofficially, Hickman, which had a 6’3” center in addition to White, out-rebounded Chillicothe 28-15.
CHS’ girls now get set to face a very good Grain Valley club in the “High School Holiday Hoops” event at Trenton next Tuesday night at 8:30.