In the largest margin of defeat during Mitch Rolls’ tenure as the Labette head coach, the 15th-ranked Cardinals blew out Missouri Southern JV by 93 points on Monday night with the final score reading 111-18.
Missouri Southern shot a dismal 14.6% from the field (6-of-41) while committing 40 turnovers in the game. Labette never ran a fullcourt press and Rolls instructed to wait for their opponent to cross halfcourt prior to meeting the ballhandler midway through the first quarter.
The Cardinals finished the game with 21 steals, with Shanice Uwase’s six leading the team.
“I was happy with our defensive intensity the entire game,” Rolls said. “We didn’t get in foul trouble. We kept our hands off and stuck to our principles.”
Rolls said after the game that his instructions were to play man defense throughout the night while working on halfcourt sets offensively whenever the opportunity arose.
“We just tried to play regular man-to-man defense,” Rolls said. “Offensively, we ran our plays through and worked on our stuff. We got good looks out of our stuff, so I’m happy with that.”
Labette had six scorers reach double figures on a night that saw the Cardinals shoot 52.8% from the floor. Three players — Jayla Smith, Denijsha Wilson and Ariah Powell — had 16 points for Labette. Uwase finished with 13, while Kymora Westerfield and Angel Williams notched 12 apiece.
“Having six people score in double figures, you can’t beat that,” Rolls said. “Three of those were freshmen, so I’m really happy to see that. Everybody was contributing. It’s nice to see them step up and be active in a lot of categories.”
Westerfield, a sophomore point guard for the Cardinals, reached her season-high with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
“She was active and pushing the ball in transition,” Rolls said. “She was finding her teammates and looking for her shot. 11 attempts for her is high, so seeing her knock it down is good. She needs to stay in that rhythm.”
Finding value in such a lopsided blowout can create its own challenges for any nationally-ranked junior college.
“We were just getting the rust off our legs,” Rolls said. “It’s always different between practice and games. We’re in a weird stretch of our schedule right now. It’s hard to keep the kids focused, but that’s part of the job.”
Labette, now 7-3 overall on the season, gets a week off before traveling to face Evangel JV next Tuesday in its penultimate game before winter break. The Cardinals don’t return home until Jan. 7 for a rematch with Evangel JV.
“We play a good team next Tuesday,” Rolls said. “Evangel beat Missouri Southern JV by 60, so it was a similar game that we had. We’ve never been there before and don’t know a whole lot about them. So we need to be locked in to finish perfect before Christmas break.”
Williams honored as KJCCC Player of the Week
Labette sophomore center Angel Williams was named the Kansas Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week after having a stellar set of performances last week.
Williams’ best game came on Nov. 20 during a 58-57 win over Division I Independence. Williams scored 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds while being matched up against Brittany Reeves, the reigning Div. I KJCCC Freshman of the Year.
“Angel worked her tail off against Independence,” Rolls said. “She was recognized for it like she should have been. I’m very proud of her.”
A native of Tulsa, Williams then scored 14 points against Oklahoma Wesleyan before putting up four more against Washburn JV — both wins for the Cardinals.
Williams is averaging 9.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game so far in 2019-20. She ranks in the top 50 nationally in offensive rebounds (46th), defensive rebounds (38th) and total rebounds (29th).
“We haven’t had anybody picked for that honor in a long time,” Rolls said. “We’ve had a lot of good players that have had good statistical games over the last couple years. But for some reason, we don’t get a lot of kids picked.”
No. 15 Labette 111, Missouri Southern JV 18
Labette: 30 24 20 27 — 111
Missouri Southern: 4 0 6 8 — 18
Labette: Kymora Westerfield 12, Jayla Smith 16, Diamond Jones 5, Shanice Uwase 13, Nicole Ajayi 6, Jamiela Moore 7, Denijsha Wilson 16, Jordan Chiles 8, Ariah Powell 16, Angel Williams 12
Missouri Southern JV: Ashton Bewley 3, Mariah Rodgers 5, Nicole Robinson 2, Dakota Jeffries 2, Naomi Alexander 6