Defense earns Lady Wildcats basketball a win
Cassville holds off Pierce City to open the new season
It was ugly, not fluid and frustrating at times, but in the end, it was a season-opening victory for the Cassville girls basketball team (1-0) on Monday with a 36-30 win at Pierce City.
“In the second half, we finally slowed down and started seeing things better,” said Chris Shore Cassville coach. “We came out and were so excited, and we started throwing the ball where we thought people were going to be. I think we had 12 turnovers in the first half.”
Tied 20-20 at halftime, the Lady Wildcats suffocated the inside play of the Lady Eagles with their size and yielded just 10 second-half points to Pierce City.
“I think fatigue helped us,” Shore said. “It calmed us down and our defense stepped it up. I think our ball handling will improve. Lauren Turner played tonight, and she hasn’t played since eighth grade. She is going to help us this season.”
Cassville went 17-10 last year and advanced to the district title game. The Lady Wildcats returned three starters from that team, and the added depth is appreciated.
“I thought we continued to get better [last year],” Shore said. “We peaked at the right time. Webb City, [in the semifinals], was kind of our signature win of the season. We just ran into a powerhouse in Carl Junction there at the end.”
Gone from the Lady Wildcats’ roster due to graduation are Kandace Wallace and Macey Parsons.
“[Wallace] was a good defender and an excellent mid-range shooter,” Shore said. “[Parsons] was a lanky player that was a good defender and rebounder.”
Cassville will once again depend on the 6-3 frame of Madi Stokes. The senior recorded 8 points in the win over the Lady Eagles.
Also returning for the Lady Wildcats are Hallie Long, Ashlynn Howe and Audra Brooks. That trio scored 10, 6 and 2 points against the Lady Eagles, respectively.
Cassville also featured junior Alondra Miller and sophomore Madry McCrackin on Monday. McCrackin scored 6 points, and Miller gave the team quality minutes off the bench.
Shore also expects growth and help from his top newcomers in sophomores Parker Marple, Juliette Okel and Natalie McNeill.
Shore said the goal for this season is simple.
“We need to stay healthy,” Shore said. “This team has solid leadership. These seniors have been with me for a long time and know what is expected. Our team can compete with anyone on our schedule if we focus on improvement and have no let downs. Our conference, top to bottom, should be much improved.”
Cassville plays Exeter on Tuesday in the first round of the Blue Eye Invitational. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.