The Cassville Ladycats went on the road to finish off their Christmas break, traveling to Neosho to compete in one of the most highly regarded holiday tournaments around, the Neosho Invitational.
The tournament featured some of the best teams in the area, including two Class 5 ranked schools from Arkansas and a nationally ranked player. Cassville drew the eighth seed in the bracket and faced off against Kansas City Ruskin.
Both teams were sluggish coming out of their vacations. scoring a combined 15 points in the first quarter; however, it was the Ladycats who claimed the 9-6 lead. Then in the second quarter, Cassville got rolling and busted off a 13-2 run over Ruskin and pushed the score to 22-8.
However, the Golden Eagles found their stroke too and made narrowed the Ladycat lead to 24-20 just before the half. Ruskin closed that gap even further in the third, leaving Cassville with just a one-point 33-32 lead.
The Ladycats opened up the fourth with some offense though scoring 8 unanswered points, but the Eagles came right back and tied the game at 44, sending it into overtime.
Cassville scored the first point, taking the lead briefly, but Ruskin found their second wind and rattled off nine unanswered to win a 55-48 thriller.
The Ladycats battled well against the bigger Lady Eagles and even won the battle of the boards in the first half, 15-12. But in the second half and over time, Ruskin turned the table on the Ladycats and outrebounded them 29-18.
Individually, Abby Munoz led the Ladycats with 18 points and eight rebounds. Also Julie Cupps had 18 points and six rebounds. Other scorers for Cassville were Gabby Lecompte 8 points and Jessie Gripka 4 points.
Cassville's next game was against rival Monett. The Lady Cubs, despite having already lost to the Ladycats earlier in the season, looked good in their first round, competing well with McDonald County. Cassville did not overlook Monett and executed beautifully in a game where Monett would never lead.
The Ladycats made a 9-2 run in the first quarter and amassed a 12-5 lead. Cassville went on another run in the second quarter and led 26-15 at halftime. Cassville gave up the first two points of the third quarter but did not let Monett score again, increasing the Ladycats' lead to 23. In the final frame, Cassville put together its last run of 6-1 and secured the 52-24 victory.
The Cassville Ladycats, under the coaching of Chris Shore, did a wonderful job of executing on both offense and defense and only turned the ball over 14 times. Their defense also was patient and ruled the Lady Cubs. forcing 25 turnovers.
Cassville's two post players, Brittany Vollenweider and Munoz, were key in the Ladycats' victory, scoring 14 and 10 and rebounding four and seven respectively. Other scorers for Cassville included Cupps 15, Gripka 4, Emily Orrell 4, Lecompte 2 and Brittney Wilbanks 1.
Cassville's last game for ninth place in the tournament was against Carl Junction. The Ladycats fell to the Lady Bulldogs 53-39, and stats were not available at presstime. The Ladycats move to 6-7 on the year and will face Blue Eye at home on Thursday.