Lady Wildcats edge McDonald County

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Sharayah Seymour puts in a shot over a Wheaton defender during southwest Holiday Tournament action this season. Kyle Troutman/

Team’s confidence continues to build

Free throws can make all the difference in a basketball game, and two misses and a make in Anderson on Jan. 25 meant a win for Cassville.

Tied at 44 apiece after a Riley Morris jumper with 10 seconds left, the Lady Mustangs inbounded and Cassville fouled, sending Morris to the bench for fouling out.

Ashlynn Bryan unloads a 3-pointer in a game against Gentry (Ark.) earlier this season. Kyle Troutman/

McDonald County missed both shots, and Cassville took the rebound down the court, where Ashlynn Bryan was fouled as she shot. Bryan missed her first charity stripe throw, but she sunk the second, and a full-court shot from the Lady Mustangs fell short.

“That was a big win for us,” said Reed Smith, Cassville girls basketball coach. “We fought through perseverance of being down by 9 at one point, and nobody hung their heads. We kept fighting and chipping away.”

The 45-44 win for Cassville (11-10) snapped a five-game winless streak.

Marianne McCrackin goes to the hoop for a layup during the Southwest Holiday Tournament championship game this season. Kyle Troutman/

“It came down to confident shooting,” Smith said. “Mac was in their high 2-3 zone, and that let the possibility for some outside shots. Sharayah [Seymour] hit a big one, then Ashlynn hit a big one to get us within 2. Riley hit a baseline jumper to tie it, and that was on a busted play.

“We never gave up, and after Riley fould out, we made a switch on the free

throw to move Marianne [McCrackin] closer to the basket. Sharayah made a great rebound and gave it to Marianne, who found Ashlynn to get that shot and be fouled.”

Seymour led the Lady Wildcats with a double-double, scoring 18 and rebounding 11. Bryan added 9 points, 5 boards, 6 assists and 4 steals.

As a team, the Lady Wildcats shot 33.6 percent and 20 percent from beyond the arc.

“We are taking shots now we weren’t taking at the beginning of the season, so I think we are gaining a lot more confidence in our ability to shoot,” Smith said.

On Jan. 27, the Lady Wildcats fell to East Newton, 44-31. McCrackin led scorers in that game with 11 points. Madison Halterman contributed another 9, and Bryan recorded 5 more steals.

“We had a big run to start the East Newton game, but we got in foul trouble and they took advantage of that,” Smith said. “At this point, we just want to make sure we are playing confident and playing our best basketball in February. It was a rough night in East Newton, so hopefully, that’s the last one of those as we head down this final stretch.”

Cassville hits the road on Friday to face Nevada, then the Lady Wildcats return home on Feb. 7 to host Monett for senior night.

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