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JH Lady ‘Cats Basketball ends 2018 season with two wins

Photo by Shari Harris
Jamie Fike fights for the ball while Finley Sullins, Danika Creech, and Makenna Skidmore stand ready to help.

Submitted by Jennifer Smith
 The Lady Wildcats embarked on the final week of their 2018-19 Season on Tue., Dec. 11 when they took on the Rolla Lady Bulldogs. The first quarter set a tone of home court confidence for the Bulldogs as they countered back with a basket of their own after the Wildcats scored. The Wildcats were able to put up four straight points in the last minute of the first quarter, and held the Bulldogs to just two, taking an 11-9 first quarter lead.
  The Lady ‘Cats increased their aggressive defense and rebounding in the second quarter, taking a 25-11 half time lead. “The girls settled down and got their fast break going, which has been their strength all season offensively,” comments Smith.
  The third quarter was more of the same as the ‘Cats continued pushing the ball up the floor after rebounding by Emma Taber, Kaida Cook, Maci Sparks, and Abbie Sullins led to several scoring opportunities. Taber and Sparks fell into foul trouble and had to be pulled for several minutes at the end of the third quarter. Hannah Medlock and Riley Moloney stepped in allowing the ‘Cats to not miss a beat.  “The seventh graders have come off the bench all year and filled big shoes in all the right ways,” says Smith, “Makenna Skidmore and Finley Sullins have stepped in throughout the year as well.”
  The fourth quarter, the Bulldogs made a run at the ‘Cats by causing several turnovers. Fortunately, the Lady Wildcats stood tall, held their composure and pulled out the win, 40-31.
  The Lady Wildcats took on the Willow Springs Lady Bears, who came to town on Thu., Dec. 13 for the last game of the 2018 season. After an up and down game for the seventh grade, where they won 21-17, the eighth grade girls took the court for one final game of their junior high careers. Having some success against the Bears in the previous summer league, the Wildcats were feeling positive about the game.
Photo by Shari Harris
Maci Sparks hits a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter against Willow Springs.
  Their mentality showed from the tip-off. Kaida Cook tipped to Maci Sparks who took control and drove in for a lay-up. The shot was tipped and fell into the hands of the Bears. The ‘Cats immediately put full court pressure on their opponents, getting a steal and scoring the first points of the game. Lady Wildcats never looked back. First quarter full court pressure and attacking 1-3-1 defense gave the home team a 14-10 lead.
  The second quarter the ‘Cats switched defensive sets and continued to attack the basket. Abbie Sullins had several fast break lay-ups, while Cook was an offensive rebounding machine, scoring for the ‘Cats. Emma Taber once again was consistently pulling rebounds and getting outlet passes to A. Sullins and Sparks. Katlyn Routh has been the silent weapon both defensively and offensively all season, and her last game was no exception. Hannah Medlock once again stepped in when needed and kept the Wildcats’ momentum strong.
  The Lady Wildcats pulled out another impressive win, 53-16. “The last minute of the ballgame, I pulled the five eighth graders and they were rewarded with a deserved standing ovation from family and fans. These girls along with the seventh grade have continued to work hard and better themselves every day, on and off the court.”
  Wildcats scoring: Sparks 16, A. Sullins 13, Cook 12, Routh 6, Medlock 4, and Finley Sullins 2. This may be the end of their junior high season, but the combination of these five girls with existing high school players will lead to several more exciting seasons to come!

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