Lady ‘Cats at Kickapoo Tourney

Coach Steve Rissler

The Lady Wildcats traveled to Kickapoo last weekend to compete in the Gold division of the Stephanie Phillip’s Classic, in a Round Robin with Rogers-Heritage, Kickapoo and Jefferson City.
Thursday, Licking drew the Jefferson City Lady Jays, whose high level players include a Drake signee, 6-3 and 6-2 Linthacum sisters and a 6-1 Mizzou softball commit, Kara Daly.
Licking tried to pack it in and force perimeter shots but offensive rebounds came early and often for the Lady Jays. Karlee Holland kept the Lady ‘Cats in the game early, hitting two contested 3s and a pair of free throws, but Jeff City took a 15-11 lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter, Holland dropped another seven to go with a 3ball from Abbie Sullins and an offensive putback from Anna Sullins. Jeff City narrowly won the quarter 13-12.
Licking scored first in the 3rd to cut the lead to three, but got outscored 14-0 the rest of the quarter. Licking scraped and clawed back to a single digit lead with the ball. A corner 3 wouldn’t fall and Jeff City scored seven straight late to end 52-36.
Holland led Licking with 21 points, 5 rebounds; Abbie Sullins added 9 points; Anna Sullins 4 points, 5 boards; Abagail Moncrief 2 points and Kylie Taylor 4 rebounds.
“Jeff City is widely regarded as the second best team in the state behind Incarnate Word and we gave them all they wanted with a bunch of small town girls. We don’t have move-ins or transfers. We do what we do with homegrown talent and that is a testament to our community, culture and youth programs.” Coach Rissler.
Friday night the Lady ‘Cats faced the host school, Kickapoo, which features a two-time All State junior forward India Green, a guard who recently signed with Columbia College and two 6’2” junior wings. The game plan was to limit the main post player and force the 6’2” girls to shoot from the perimeter. Moncrief and Kaida Cook did a FANTASTIC job using their bodies to keep Green off the block AND off the glass. The All Stater finished with only seven points; six were late in the 4th.
Licking struggled early in the first quarter to be in correct position defensively. Two early timeouts were a wakeup and Holland hit two 3s, but LHS still trailed 15-6 after one quarter. Holland hit another 3 and a layup in traffic. The Lady Chiefs came out of a timeout in a diamond-and-1 defense in attempt to slow Holland. Winter Murray took advantage and hit a 3. Anna Sullins also hit two runners before Kickapoo went back to normal man-to-man defense. Licking narrowly won the second quarter 14-13 but they were still down 28-20 at halftime. In the third quarter, Licking was more physical in the paint, only allowing five points while scoring nine to cut the lead to four. In the fourth, the Lady ‘Cats had every opportunity to take control of the game, but missed layups and unforced turnovers kept the Kickapoo lead at six with just over a minute to play. Licking went to the foul game and hoped Kickapoo would miss free throws, which they did. Three missed front ends of a one-and-one by Kickapoo was followed by 3 straight turnovers by the Lady Cats. Kickapoo prevailed 45-38.
Holland led Licking with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals; Anna Sullins added 7 points, 6 rebounds; Taylor 4 points; Abbie Sullins 4 points; Murray 3 points and Moncrief 4 rebounds.
“The effort and focus was there. We played hard enough to win but the shots just didn’t fall. We want games where, if you don’t execute every play, you get burned and one play can be the difference between a win and a loss.” Coach Rissler
Saturday the Lady ‘Cats faced Rogers-Heritage. A pitch ahead on the tip by Taylor found Holland on the wing for a 3-pointer. Heritage turned the ball over. Abbie Sullins hit a 3 from the corner. Holland got a steal at half court and threw ahead to Abbie Sullins who buried another corner 3 to push the lead to 9-0. Licking hit eight 3-pointers in the first half to lead 27-23. Holland battled foul trouble in the first half but the other girls stepped up. Moncrief went to work in the third, scoring three times and helping extend the lead to 37-32 with a quarter to play. The Lady ‘Cats scored 17 in the fourth to get their first tournament victory, 54-40.
Abbie Sullins led the Lady ‘Cats with 20 points, 4 assists. Moncrief added 10 points, 7 boards; Holland 8 points, 7 assists; Taylor 6 points, 5 assists; Cook 4 points; Murray 3 points; Anna Sullins 2 points, 6 rebounds and Maci Sparks 1 point.
 “Three trips to Springfield in three days took its toll on the girls’ legs but they were able to stay focused and get this win. These three games tested our heart and toughness along with our skill level.” Coach Rissler.
Senior guard Karlee Holland was named to the Stephanie Phillip’s Classic All Tournament Team for the Gold Division. She averaged 16.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.7 spg going 9/23 from the 3 point line while only turning the ball over four times throughout the three games.
Fresh off a Frisco League Tourney championship the Licking Lady Wildcats traveled to Houston Dec. 9. The score was an astounding 32-19 after the first quarter. Licking switched to their normal 1-3-1 zone in the second quarter and stifled the smaller Lady Tigers, holding them to just 2 while scoring 11 of their own to lead 43 to 21 at the half. The second half saw both teams settle in to their half-court defenses, until mid-fourth quarter when Houston made a mini-run to cut the lead back to under 20. The Lady Tigers began pressing again, allowing Licking to play faster and extend the lead back to 30. The final score was 68 to 27.
 Holland led all scorers with 27 points. Abbie Sullins added 17, Moncrief 8, Taylor 7, Anna Sullins 4, Tomi Rose 4 and Sparks 1.
"We didn’t know what to expect from Houston playing so many freshmen and only having played one game. Anna did a great job of getting the ball inbounds quickly to Kylie who pitched ahead repeatedly to Karlee and Abbie for scores. We rebounded really well, especially on the offensive end." Coach Rissler.



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