By Lee Stubblefield
Cassville's girls grabbed an 11-point half-time lead and never led by less than seven in the second half, as they dispatched their Big 8 conference rivals from Monett, 56-43, on Monday night.
With the cheerleaders and student body dressed in "white-out" apparel, the Ladycats traded early points with Monett, and the two teams were tied at 5-5 after Monett's Madison Carlin kissed a trey off the glass from an impossible corner angle at 5:05 of the first quarter. From there, Cassville stormed to a 7-0 run behind Hannah Elkins' trey and deuce and led 12-5.
Then Elkins fed first Gail Edie and then Emily Orrell with assists, and Cassville led 18-9 at the first break.
The Ladycats reached their first double-digit lead at 4:23 of the second quarter when Orrell drove and hit a pretty pull-up jumper from 10 feet for a 24-14 lead. Elkins found a loose ball in the lane on the Ladycats' next possession, and her lay-up pushed the lead to a dozen.
Monett dug in and cut the lead to 9, thanks to a right wing trey by Amanda McKinney. But Edie popped in a short jumper in the final minute, and Cassville held a 30-19 half-time lead.
In the third quarter, the lead swayed from 11 to 8 and back to 11 when Edie converted a pair of free throws with 6:53 on the clock.
Monett's Carlin connected on a straight-up three from between the circles and then hit a long deuce with a toe on the line to pull the Lady Cubs within 6 at 4:47 of the third period. It was the closest the Cubs had been since the 10-5 score of the first quarter.
Even though Elkins was shut out in the third, Cassville managed to reach the end of the quarter with a 40-32 advantage. Freshman Jaime Everett picked up the slack with her two baskets in the frame.
Cassville opened the fourth quarter with a nicely executed backdoor lay-up, as Elkins took the entry pass from Marti Richmiller and scored for a 42-32 lead. Carlin rocked another trey for Monett to cut Cassville's advantage to 7 with 6:20 to play.
The lead would shrink no more. Led by Edie's offensive heroics, Cassville streaked to a 16-point lead, 54-38, with only 1:07 remaining. Monett had two more baskets left in their tank, but Cassville had too much cushion to overcome. Edie's two free throws in the final seconds iced the cake, and the Ladycats won 56-43.
Elkins led the victorious home team in scoring with 18 while Edie scored 16 and Orrell also reached double figures with her 10 points. Carlin led Monett with 11, while both Jenny Frazier and Denae Beckett scored 9.
The varsity Ladycats are now 14-8 on the season and 3-1 in the Big 8.
Cassville also prevailed in the JV contest, 33-28. Cassville assumed a 12-7 lead, led by Amber Balch's three first quarter baskets. Balch added four more points in the second period, but her team only scored six in that frame. Monett went on a 6-0 run to finish the half, cutting Cassville's lead to 18-15.
The teams traded baskets to start the third quarter, and Monett pulled within 22-20 on Desirae Fowler's free throw with 2:51 showing. The Lady Cubs would get no closer than that. Cassville ended the quarter with a 4-0 flurry to lead 28-22.
Even though Monett's Danielle Neill made it interesting with her late trey, the Ladycats won 33-28.
Balch led Cassville with 16 points, and Desirae Fowler led the Lady Cubs with 9.
Cassville ladies triumph over Lamar
The Cassville Ladycats earned a tough Big 8 road win at Lamar on Thursday, Feb. 5. Cassville defeated the Lady Indians by a score of 46-37.
Cassville ground out a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and held leads of 22-17 and 36-27 at the succeeding quarter breaks enroute to the 46-37 final.
Elkins again led the Ladycats in scoring with 14. Orrell accounted for 12 points, and Ariel Oswald scored 8. Everett, Edie and Richmiller scored 6, 4 and 2 points respectively.
"In seven trips to Lamar that was my second win as a coach there," reported Cassville's Chris Shore. "It is a tough trip and a tough place to play. Our kids played hard and survived."
Cassville 60, Hollister 38
Cassville followed the Lamar win with a 60-38 victory over Hollister on Friday night. The Ladycats shutout Hollister in the first quarter and led 12-0 at the break.
The Ladycats then exploded offensively in the second period, outscoring Hollister 24-11 and carrying a 36-11 advantage into halftime. Back-to-back threes by Elkins ignited the Cassville run, and the Ladycats eased home with a 22-point win.
Elkins led the team in scoring with her 25 points. Edie had a dozen, Orrell scored 11 and Richmiller had 7 points to go with her seven boards.