"Ken-sanity" took over the Cassville gym on Thursday night. Playing in her last home game in a Lady Wildcat jersey, Kennadi Howard scored 22 points on Senior Night to lead Cassville past Seneca, 54-39.
"After they got back within one point, we made good decisions down the stretch," said Cassville's Chris Shore.
For three quarters of play, this was one of those "never trailed, but couldn't lead by enough" games for the Lady Wildcats.
Jaime Everett controlled the tip for Cassville, then took a slick feed from Emily Speakman for a back-door layup and a quick 2-0 lead. Everett said "thanks" by returning the favor on the very next possession, and Speakman's layup created a 4-0 score.
Shore's big starting lineup of Speakman, Howard, Everett and Kelsey and Cari Vollenweider created matchup problems for Seneca, and the Lady Wildcats moved in front, 8-3. But the Lady Indians finished the period with a 7-2 rush, and Cassville led by only 10-9 at the break.
Howard went wild in the second quarter, scoring 11 points as the Lady Wildcats took a 25-16 half-time lead. The crafty senior scored Cassville's final bucket of the half with a daring baseline drive and finished with a hanging layup between defenders.
Seneca stormed back in the third quarter with a 9-4 flurry to cut the Cassville lead to 29-27. The Lady Wildcats responded with 5-1 run to end the period.
Howard hit the second of a pair of free throws, Everett jerked down a big defensive rebound and then scored at the other end, and Howard saved a ball on the end line to Kelsey Vollenweider for a layup in the final minute. Cassville led 34-28 at the final break.
Everett owned the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Her steal at 7:16 thwarted a Seneca fast break opportunity. She grabbed three defensive rebounds. She scored with an offensive board, and the Lady Wildcats led by 38-30.
Howard canned a pair of free throws and gave Cassville the first double-digit lead of the second half at 40-30. The lead reached 17 points with two minutes to play, and Everett's left-handed layup against Seneca's trapping defense created the final score of 54-39.
The Lady Wildcats finished the regular season at 12-12.
Cassville scorers: Kennadi Howard, 22; Jaime Everett, 12; Emily Speakman, 10; Raeghan Blisard, 7; Kelsey Vollenweider, 2; and Katelyn Pitts, 1.
Seneca scorers: Molli Cooper, 13; Mirana Heath, 12; Bailey Skelton, 8; Annie Howard, 4; and Rachel Butterfield, 2.