Kickapoo High School guard Jordyn Danzer may have summed it up best.
“We have four emphases: Defense, play hard, rebound and communicate,” the junior guard said Thursday night. “We did all of those things tonight, so that’s why we won.”
The Lady Chiefs, indeed, did all of those things — and a few more — on their home court in a 61-39 Ozark Conference victory over Parkview. It was a surprising score, given Parkview’s talent this season. The Vikings nearly knocked off Ozark a couple of weeks ago.
However, Kickapoo took control of the game with a 20-4 second-quarter run. The key stretch inflated a 15-7 lead after one quarter into a 35-11 advantage with 3:28 to play before halftime.
Six different Lady Chiefs scored in the surge, including Laura Vierkant (five points), Hanna Harding (six points) and Danzer (four points). Kickapoo forced five turnovers in the run and 11 in the half, while giving the ball away only once themselves.
“We did it with our defense,” Danzer said. “We went after them really hard, and they couldn’t get anything going against us offensively. On their turnovers, we converted them to points for us.”
Kickapoo tried to run away and hide with the game in the second quarter, but Parkview’s Tyra Moore — back in the game after being saddled with foul trouble in the first half — spearheaded a rally by the Lady Vikings.
Moore, a junior guard, scored 13 consecutive points to wrap up the third quarter and open the fourth, including a personal 10-0 run. Moore did it from the perimeter — knocking down a pair of 3-pointers — and while attacking the basket.
Aubrey Buckley followed with a pair of free throws, and Tanaea Brown scored in the lane to get Parkview to within 52-38 with about six minutes left.
“I was real proud of the effort they gave in the second half,” Parkview coach Keri Nichols. “They really executed what we were trying to do intensity-wise and offensively. I told them if we’d play like that for two halves it would’ve been a totally different ballgame.”
However, the Lady Chiefs (12-8, 3-2) started getting stops and ran out the clock.
“A good team is going to make a push at you,” Kickapoo coach Jim Pendergrass said. “Are you going to be able to hold your ground and not bend?”
Danzler feels like she and her teammates did.
Vierkant’s game-high 20 points led another balanced Kickapoo attack. Lopez added 12 as eight different Lady Chiefs played and scored.
“It was a great team performance,” Pendergrass said. “We had contributions from so many people and our balance and depth showed tonight. Everybody did their job when they needed to do it, and we did all those things that we talk about in practice.”
Parkview (13-8, 3-1) had three in double figures, including Moore (14), Brown (12) and Buckley (10).
“I thought Kickapoo did a great job of taking us out of our game plan in the first half — and we let them,” Nichols said. “But our kids fought back, made adjustments and did much better in the second half.”
Kickapoo visits Glendale Monday night, while Parkivew plays host to Rolla.