Lady Wildcats' teamwork key to winning surge

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Cassville junior Britani Long cuts off the drive of a Verona player during the Lady Wildcats win last week. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville girls hoops has won 5 of its last 7 tilts

At first glance, a 6-11 season basketball record isn't that impressive, but upon further review of the contributing factors, it can be counted a blessing.

The latter category is where the Cassville Lady Wildcats basketball team finds itself.

With a starting lineup that features one senior, three juniors and one freshman, and not a lot of starting experience, Coach Chris Shore knew there was going to be growing pains.

"With a young team, it wasn't just one thing we had to fix," Shore said. "It was a lot of little things, fundamental things, that kept us from winning."

Shore was so focused on bringing his young team along early in the season he didn't share much of his scouting report with his players.

"Early in the season, we were so focused on making ourselves better that the coaches and I didn't want to distract the team with the information about our opponents," Shore said. "Now that we have grown as a team, we have started sharing our scouting with the girls."

It hasn't been just one player improving, but a collective team effort that has helped the Lady Wildcats win five of their last seven contests.

"Every player on the team has improved by leaps and bounds," Shore said. "I can't just pick one or two and say that because of their effort [alone] we have had success."

Raeghan Blisard and Britani Long provide Cassville with an inside-out presence.

Blisard has a nice touch in the mid-range on her jump shots, and she is deadly on the baseline. Long scores the majority of her points from offensive rebounds. On the defensive end, she alters many shots inside.

Katelyn Pitts has improved her ball handling abilities. She works hard to find the open player, but is not afraid to take a shot.

Brooke Fields drew praise from Shore with her improvement in rebounding ability. Fields likes to shoot in the 15-foot range.

A trio of freshmen, Devyn Callahan, Ashlea Large and Macey Parsons, have helped solidify the team and its future.

"All three of those girls has had to mature quickly this year," Shore said. "They have had to, for us to be successful."

Shore said his team was playing too fast on the floor at the beginning of the season due to its inexperience, allowing opponents to speed up the game and created havoc.

Things began to change with a 43-27 win against Hollister on Jan. 14, then back-to-back wins over Wheaton and Purdy.

"We really started playing with more confidence in that stretch," Shore said. "We started to believe as a unit, we could win."

Cassville hosts Lamar on Thursday. Tipoff is set of 6 p.m.

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  • Yep, there is always next year.

    -- Posted by Doug Edwards on Thu, Feb 6, 2014, at 4:41 PM
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