By Coach Jennifer Smith
The eighth grade lady Wildcats have been on a five game winning streak since their win over the Eagles of Mountain View-Liberty on November 14, 2017. The Lady Cats capitalized on stellar defensive pressure and jumped out to a 15-2 first quarter lead. Steals and aggressive rebounding by Kylie Taylor, Kiley Ingram, Winter Murray, and Payton Peterson led to many fast breaks allowing Kasey Richards and Taylor to score several layups in the first half.
Continued focus on both offense and defense allowed the Wildcats to outscore the Eagles by a final of 45-29. Peterson and Monica Baker aren’t often in the scoring column but they contribute by leading the rebounding attack for Licking. Trista Bryson and Deszaray Warren also stepped in and added solid minutes thoughout the night. Scoring: Richards 15, Taylor 12, Murray 8, Ingram 6, Bryson and Baker 2 each.
Thursday, November 16, the Lady Cats were dialed in and ready for a fight from the Steeleville Cardinals at the Sherman Hill Fieldhouse. Last year on the Cardinals home court, the two teams fought tooth and nail the second half before the Cats pulled out the win by 1.
“We knew the Cardinals would have revenge on their minds. We prepared ourselves mentally to let our defense become our offense and take care of the ball.”
This preparation turned out to be the attitude needed as the Cats pulled out an impressive 30 to 18 win. Once again, anticipation by Taylor on the back side of our defense led to steal after steal. The Cardinals did a good job of stopping the fast break, but this did not halt the offensive attack of the Cats as they took a commanding 24-2 half time lead. With several different combinations of players in the second half, the focus remained 110% effort will allow us to pull out the win. Richards and Ingram controlled the ball on the outside while Murray and Peterson controlled the inside game of the Cats keeping the Cardinals off balance defensively. Once again, Bryson, Baker and Warren came off the bench adding valuable minutes. Scoring: Richards 9, Taylor 8, Murray and Peterson 4, Maci Sparks 3, Ingram 2.
The following two games the Lady Cats matched up with the Houston Tigers. The first match was Monday, November 20 in the Licking FEMA gymnasium in which the Lady Cats pulled out a win, 41-14.
A week later on Monday, November 27, 2017, the Cats traveled to Houston to meet the Tigers on their home court. Again the Cats kept their focus and new motto of “110”, managing to bring a second win back home, 46-6. Adding a full court press to the Cats game strategy proved to push and continue to add to the scoring of the Cats attack.
The next night, the Lady Cats took on the Zizzers of West Plains at home.
“This group of girls has embraced the idea of defense becoming their offense. This idea continues to give us opportunities to score quick”, comments Coach Smith.
The Lady Cats put up an impressive 29-12 half-time lead thanks to defensive efforts. They were able to once again score on quick outlet fast breaks, as well as slow down and run their offensive sets. Team effort allowed them to post their fifth straight win, 50-12. Scoring: Taylor 20, Richards 12, Ingram 8, Murray 6, Bryson and Peterson with 2.