Bobcats’ Poe enjoys chance to ‘just play’ at All Star game
OLATHE — Rarely during her basketball career at Basehor-Linwood High School did Bobcat fans see Courtney Poe smiling while handling point guard duties.
Usually her face conveyed deep focus as she prepared to beat an opponent off the dribble, pull up for a 3-pointer or find an open teammate.
On Saturday, however, Poe wore a different look for much of the TLC For Kids Kansas/Missouri All-Star Game at the Cook Center at Mid-America Nazarene University.
Teamed with a handful of other players from the area, Poe spent much of the game with a smile on her face and helped her squad to a 47-37 victory.
“It’s definitely weird not having the girls I know because usually I know what their tendencies are,” Poe said. “But there wasn’t the stress of our games this season and having to win. It was nice to come out here and just play.”
The term “just play” was plenty accurate, too. Although Poe was invited to play in mid-March, a number of players who had committed to the event were unavailable due to college obligations. As a result, there were no practices and each squad had just five players. In fact, one Kansas player played for Missouri and one Missouri player suited up for Kansas.
It resembled more of a pick-up game as each squad freelanced on offense and there were no defined roles.
“We just showed up, and coach said go out there and have fun and just kind of do what you do,” Poe said.
Poe spent part of the game playing point guard and part of it running as a shooting guard.
Poe and her teammates — Shawnee Mission West standouts Lizzy Jeronimus and Brooke Katterhenry, Olathe South’s Stacey Mgbike and Platte County (Mo.) standout Kelsey Knox — struggled to hit their stride early. They lacked consistency on offense and had a few turnovers.
Meanwhile, Missouri received an early lift from Wichita Heights’ Jhasmin Bowen and built a 12-5 lead.
Kansas trailed 14-10 after one quarter and used a 9-3 second-quarter surge to take a 19-17 lead, but Missouri closed the half on a 7-3 run and led 24-22 at intermission.
The game turned around in the second half as Kansas shifted to a 2-3 zone defense and managed to contain Bowen a bit.
The defensive adjustment was a welcome change for Poe as Basehor-Linwood successfully deployed that strategy on numerous occasions during her career.
Kansas opened the second half on a 17-5 run. Poe — who went scoreless in the contest — had a steal and an assist during the game-changing stretch. Her squad led 41-32 after three quarters and never was threatened the rest of the way.
For Poe, the All-Star event caps her high school hoops career. She will attend Kansas University in the fall.