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Back to Back Champions

Photo submitted by Coach Jennifer Smith -- First place winners in Mtn. Grove tournament. Front row, from left: Riley Moloney, Katlyn Routh, Hannah Medlock; back row from left: Asst. Coach Justin Coffey, Kaida Cook, Abbie Sullins, Emma Taber, Maci Sparks, and Coach Jennifer Smith.
Submitted by Coach Jennifer Smith

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Junior High Lady Cats traveled to Mtn. Grove to participate in their annual tournament. First round action gave the ladies a bye, and in the second round they faced the Cabool Bulldogs. The Lady Wildcats scored from off the tip from Kaida Cook to Abbie Sullins who led Maci Sparks to the basket for the first points of the game. The ladies never looked back, taking a 28-2 half-time lead. The second half of the game was more of the same as the ‘Cats worked on their fast-pace actions coming away with a 50-5 win. Scoring: Sparks 16, Sullins 12, Cook 10, Katlyn Routh and Riley Moloney 4, Hannah Medlock and Emma Taber 2.

Wednesday night, the Lady Wildcats went up against the Mtn. View-Liberty Eagles. The first half play was not the same team as the night before, as the ladies only put up 12 points in the first half. Again, the ‘Cats scored off the tip and pulled the Eagles out of their man-to-man defense with three straight drives to the basket. The Eagles switched up defense and sat back in the zone, while the ‘Cats slowed things down on the outside. The team was challenged at half time to push the ball up the court and get the adrenalin moving. In the third quarter, the ladies doubled their first two quarter production, leading 26-14 at the end of the third. The Eagles put more pressure on in the final quarter, trying to slow the ‘Cats down. Licking kept their cool and pulled out another win, 34-19, to advance to the championship game against the Ava Bears. Scoring: Sullins 14, Sparks 13, Cook 7.
Photo By Shari Harris -- Lady Wildcat Kaida Cook goes up for a shot over Green Forest’s Belle Manson. Licking’s Emma Taber battles Gracie Brooks for rebound position opposite the shot

The championship game was on Thursday versus the Ava Bears. For the third night in a row, the Lady Cats scored from the tip-off and again never looked back. The Bears gave the Cats havoc the entire game as the ladies had to slow down and concentrate on their half court situational sets. The ‘Cats took a half time lead of 24-14.

“The challenge for this group was to continue to attack and play smart, as we all knew a 10-point lead would not hold against this group of Bears,” commented Coach Smith. The Bears closed the gap by one point in the third quarter, 29-20, but it seemed like a tie game. Possessions were not in the Wildcats’ favor; fortunately their defense kept the Bears from pulling closer. The Bears snuck up on the Wildcats in the fourth quarter, pulling to within four. In the last two minutes, the ‘Cats attempted to slow the ball down to keep possession and pulled out the win 33-29. This group won the seventh grade division in 2017, giving them a second back-to-back championship of the season. Scoring: Sparks 18, Sullins 9, Medlock, Cook, and Taber all with 2.

The prior week, the Lady Wildcats had a 2-1 week. They pulled out wins against Salem, 43-13, Green Forest Mustangs 60-17, and they suffered their first loss of the season to the Steelville Cardinals 44-37. The Cardinals aggressively attacked the Wildcats strong 1-3-1 defense, finding holes and pulling ahead in the first half. The ‘Cats came back and tied the game up in the third quarter 30-30. “The fourth quarter, the ball just couldn’t find its way into the basket, and had to foul putting the Cardinals on the free throw line, where they successfully put points on the board handing us the loss,” explained Smith. Always proud of how these girls handle the ups and downs. Come out and support these girls the rest of the season!
Photo By Shari Harris --Makenna Skidmore drills one from outside in Friday night’s 7th grade game against Green Forest. Kaitlyn Wade, 24, and Gracie Berriault are alsopictured for Licking. Green Forest defenders are Debbie Barton, 25, and Gracie Brooks, 35.


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