Mitchell Soell, 23 Sports Reporter

The Kirkwood Pioneers have struggled to score in the first quarter all season. The Pioneers picked the perfect game to stop struggling. Even though Kirkwood struggled from the field, shooting a 28 percent mark, their ability to make free throws along with their savvy defensive play drove the Pioneers to victory.

Kirkwood was led by senior forward Lauryn Miller, who finished the evening with 20 points. “We played Kirkwood basketball and that’s why we won,” Miller said after the game.

Lee’s Summit and Kirkwood would go back and forth with the lead up until the three-minute mark in the first quarter, when Kirkwood’s junior guard Makayla Wallace drilled a 3-pointer to give Kirkwood the lead for the rest of the game. Kirkwood would end the first quarter leading 15-6.

The second quarter was an even one between the two teams as Kirkwood still led by nine points at the halftime break, 24-15. Miller nearly had a double-double going into the break as she finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

As the third quarter commenced, there was an obvious shift in the pace of play away from Kirkwood’s fast pace and towards the slow and patient pace of the Tigers. Lee’s Summit would pick at the lead, as the Pioneers were only up four points going into the final quarter.

Kirkwood adjusted to the pace of play, changing their offense to a four-corner offense to spread the defense and wear down the clock.

Lee’s Summit cut the lead to three in the fourth thanks to a 3-pointer from guard Claire Lock. However, the Pioneers held on to the lead, as the Tigers were forced to foul and Miller made four free throws to close out the game. The win gave Kirkwood their first girls’ basketball state title in school history.