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Jr. High Girls Continue Their Streak

Photo by Shari Harris
Hannah Medlock hits a three despite pressure from Waynesville in the 7th grade win.
By Jennifer Smith
 Friday, Dec. 7, the girls traveled to Ava to keep their winning streak alive against the talented and aggressive Lady Bears. Both teams have been undefeated since their first encounter in the Championship game of the Mtn. Grove Tournament. Both were focused, with nerves running wildly at the same time. The Bears jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead in the first three minutes. The Lady ‘Cats got their nerves under control, breaking the Bears’ full court pressure and going up 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.
  Emma Taber, Kaida Cook, and Maci Sparks let the Bears know they were in control of the boards by out-rebounding them consistently in the first half. Sparks, Abbie Sullins and Taber connected with each other, beating the pressure to pull away in the second quarter 18-10. The Bears caused the Wildcats to turn the ball over in the last two minutes of the second quarter, closing the gap 19-16 at half-time.
  Half-time discussion led to more control offensively and rebounding. “We must take care of the ball and get back to fundamental rebounding,” commented Smith. The Cats came out strong in the third quarter and did just what was asked of them, outscoring the Bears 13-6, with the lead 32-22 at the end of the third.
  With momentum and focus, the ‘Cats were confident and in control going into the final quarter of the game. Deja vu was about to hit! The Bears slowly crept back into the game with a few offensive rebounds, steals, and perfect at the free throw line in the fourth quarter. It was a mirror quarter to what was in the championship game a month earlier, causing the ‘Cats issues controlling the ball and fouling their shooters, and giving them second opportunities to score. The Bears came within two points in the last 25 seconds of the game. While trying to foul in order to get the ball back, one of the Bears was a bit too aggressive and intentionally fouled A. Sullins, allowing her the chance to increase the score at the free throw line, and giving ball possession back to the ‘Cats. She hit one of two free throws to increase the lead to 3, and the ‘Cats successfully got the ball inbounds. The Bears were able to strip the ball away with 16 seconds left and quickly got the ball downcourt, trying to score. A. Sullins fouled the shooter, putting the Bears on the free throw line where they pulled within one. Cook was fouled on the inbound pass from Sparks with 11 seconds left. She made one of two free throws, putting the ‘Cats back up by 2. Full court pressure after the make took time off the clock, not allowing the Bears a chance to score. BIG win for the Lady ‘Cats, 37-35.
  Katlyn Routh, Hannah Medlock, and Riley Moloney may not have been in the scoring column for the night, but they were extremely focused on their roles. Without them, the outcome might have been different. Great team effort once again. Scoring for the Cats: Sullins 13, Sparks 9, Taber 8, and Cook 7.
  The Waynesville Tigers came to town Tue., Dec. 4, to take on the junior high Lady Wildcats. Waynesville controlled the tip-off, but as the season has shown, the defensive focus of the Lady Wildcats kicked into gear, causing a Tiger turnover and leading to the first points of the night for the home team Wildcats. Steals and rebounding off the aggressive defense led to several fast break opportunities, allowing the Wildcats to take the first quarter lead, 12-0.
Photo by Shari Harris
Emma Taber hits for two against Waynesville in the 8th grade game.
  Emma Taber, Katlyn Routh and Kaida Cook controlled the rebounding, getting strong outlet passes to Maci Sparks, who pushed the ball up the court to Abbie Sullins for several layups in the second quarter, to increase the lead at half-time, 32-3. Hannah Medlock and Makenna Skidmore also stepped in adding threats defensively and offensively for the Wildcats.
  The second half, the Wildcats slowed down a bit to focus on half court offensive situations.  The Wildcats added Finley Sullins, Riley Moloney, and Ryleigh Barton into the chemistry and didn’t miss a beat as all three stepped in and helped on both ends of the floor. Total team effort led to a big win, 48-8.
  Scoring for the ‘Cats: A. Sullins 18, Sparks and Taber 8, Cook and Medlock 4, Moloney, Skidmore and Barton 2 each.


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