By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Head coach Steve Frank wants to see balance and he got just that as his Strafford girls rolled over Parkview 61-39 on Thursday in the Pink & White Lady Classic at Drury University.
The Indians, seeded first in the Pink Division, had four different players score in double figures and five score within four points of each other. They led by as many as 26 points in dispatching a Vikings team that has now suffered five losses to ranked opponents.
“Overall we got good balance again,” Frank said. “That’s where our team really thrives. Everybody’s going to come out and try to take Hayley out and there are so many other people out there that are going to beat you. She does a good job. I don’t know what she had, I bet she had 14 or 15 assists today and probably that many rebounds. She’ll beat you in so many different ways so if you’re going to try to take that away she’ll make sure everybody else gets the ball distributed and that’s what happened today. Balance is the key and all of our kids understand that.”
Hayley Frank, a 6-foot-2 senior, still scored 11 points for Strafford. But as her coach said, she was far from the only one doing damage.
Parkview rallied to tie the game at 10 late in the first quarter on a three pointer by sophomore Mikaela Whalen, but the Vikings came up empty on their next five possessions and Strafford led 18-10 after a quarter.
Three-straight baskets by Strafford junior Logan Jones helped the Indians double up Parkview 24-12 in the second, and a three pointer by senior Kayley Frank made it 27-14. As Parkview went another five-possession span with no scoring, the Strafford lead grew to 17 after Jones made two free throws with 3:56 left in the half.
A three pointer by senior Kyndall Compton and two baskets from Kayley Frank made it 38-18 at the half.
Strafford’s lead hit a game-high 26 points with 3:10 left in the third after Hayley Frank scored to make it 50-24. After that, the Indians hit a scoring drought lasting six minutes.
“We kind of hit a lull in the third quarter,” Frank said.
He called a timeout in the fourth and said he emphasized the need to keep executing and doing the little things.
“We kind of picked it up at that point,” he said. “I think it was legs at that point. We got a lot of transition early and our legs were starting to go a little bit.”
Still, the lead never dipped below 17 points. Parkview senior Paiton Acord’s three-point play with 4:09 remaining later cut it to 52-35, but Strafford senior Madison Chittenden came up with a steal and scored and then Hayley Frank added a three pointer to lead 57-35.
“We gave up way too many transition baskets in the first half,” Parkview coach Keri Nichols said. “Eighteen points worth of transition points. Our focus was to come in and we felt if we could get them in a half court set we could get some stops. We knew they would have to miss some shots. We did a much better job of defensive rebounding and giving us some more possessions.
“I thought Paiton Acord did a great job on the Frank girl,” Nichols said. “She guarded her most of the night and made her life difficult. Obviously she was probably our leading scorer also. I thought she had a strong game. When you play a team that’s good they expose all your weaknesses. I think this is a great learning point for us. We can learn some things and turn around and make some corrections. It’s going to make us better in the end.”
The Indians were led by 13 points from Kayley Frank. Jones scored 12, Hayley Frank and Chittenden each scored 11 and Compton added nine.
Acord scored 13 for the Vikings.
Strafford, 11-0, will take on fifth seed Kickapoo at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Eighth seed Parkview, 4-5, will play at 2 p.m. Friday in Weiser Gym against Thayer.