Lady ‘Cats second in Rolla Holiday Tournament

                                                                                                                                    Photo by Shari Harris
The Licking Lady ‘Cats took second place in the Rolla H.S. Girls Holiday Tournament. Front row from left: Kasey Richards, Kylie Taylor, Anna Sullins, Abagail Moncrief and Karlee Holland. Back from left: Coach Steve Rissler, Mgr. Emma Taber, Winter Murray, Mgr. Bailie Joyner, Kaida Cook, Abbie Sullins, Tomi Rose, Kyra Taylor, Maci Sparks, Asst. Coach Terri Moncrief and Asst. Coach Rick Mosher.
By Coach Steve Rissler

The Licking Lady Wildcats made the short trip up 63 to the Rolla Holiday Tournament Dec. 26 through 28. The first two rounds were played on the college floor at Missouri S & T.
KC Central
                                     Photo by Shari Harris
Lady ‘Cat Anna Sullins puts up a shot in the 
Rolla Tournament Championship game Saturday.
Licking’s first round matchup was the Lady Eagles from Kansas City Central. The girls and coaches didn’t know what to expect as very little information and no film was available on KC Central. Licking scored in the first two seconds and never looked back as they led 26-5 after one quarter and 55-10 at halftime. The final score ended at 90-15. All eleven girls played significant minutes and got in the scorebook. Karlee Holland led with 24 points and 5 assists. Abbie Sullins added 16 points on 8/9 shooting, Kasey Richards scored 13 points and had 3 steals, Kaida Cook had 10 points and 6 boards, Maci Sparks added 8 points and 9 rebounds, Kyra Taylor was 2/3 from deep for 6 points, Tomi Rose put in 4 points, Winter Murray had 3 points and 6 boards, Anna Sullins 2 points and 3 steals, Kylie Taylor 2 points, 7 assists and 9 rebounds, Abby Moncrief 2 points and 4 steals.
Lutheran North
Licking faced off with a familiar opponent in the semi-final round, the Class 3, 6th ranked Lady Crusaders from Lutheran North. The ladies faced Lutheran North in the Final Four last season and lost. This game played out a tad different. Lutheran North uses their athleticism to wreak havoc on teams with their full court pressure and to get easy buckets off turnovers. The Licking guards were ready for the pressure and only totaled eight turnovers for the entire game. Licking also looked to stop the Lutheran dribble penetration by clogging up the lane with a 2-3 zone and only extending out on one girl. Licking was without starting guard Kylie Taylor as a migraine attacked her on the bus to the game. So Coach Rissler informed freshman Maci Sparks that she was the next man up.

The first quarter saw the two ranked teams trade baskets as both teams hit three 3s each (Abbie Sullins 2, Holland) but Licking held a 13-11 lead after the first eight minutes. The second quarter saw both teams using long offensive possessions to try and find a quality shot. Licking scored six points on free throws and a layup by Holland to slightly extend the lead to 21-17 at the half. The third quarter was much the same as the second as both teams were forced to be patient on offense because of the defensive efforts. Kaida Cook came in and scored two buckets to help the cause but LN won the quarter 10-11 for a 31-28 score at the end of the third. Licking went to the stall game in the fourth after getting up by seven off free throws by Holland. Lutheran North became frustrated and began forcing shots and taking chances on defense, which led to an easy layup by Abbie Sullins. Sparks made a contested layup and Holland, the one-man delay game, ran out the clock.
Holland led with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Abbie Sullins added 11 points and 3 steals, Anna Sullins had 1 point and 9 rebounds, Sparks 8 points 4 rebounds, Abagail Moncrief 3 points 5 rebounds, Cook 6 points.
“This was a big win for this group of girls. They came together and did what we had to do to get the win. We had five girls play major minutes tonight that this is their first year at the varsity level so we are going to have some growing pains but I’m proud of our grind-it-out mentality. We aren’t the tallest or fastest but we are finding ways to be successful.” Coach Rissler
                                                                                                                                             Photo by Shari Harris
Seniors Karlee Holland and Abagail Moncrief accepted the second place plaque from Dr. and Mrs. Esquibel.
Licking advanced to the championship game to face the Class 4, 4th ranked Rolla Lady Bulldogs. Rolla has a tough mix of size, speed and skill. “Rolla’s strengths are our weaknesses so I’m glad we got to play them at their place. We want to be uncomfortable as possible to force us to adapt and improve.” Coach Rissler.
The game started in Rolla’s favor as their 6’3” center, Rebecca Janke, got going in the paint and the Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-3 lead after the first quarter. Anna Sullins got things going for Licking in the second, hitting a 3, getting fouled on a layup and making her free throw. However this quarter the Rolla guards hit three 3s to keep their lead and the score at halftime was Rolla 25, Licking 18.
Licking came out of the locker room focused and Holland nailed a 3 from the top of the key and hit Abbie Sullins in the corner for a 3 to cut the lead to two. That was as close as Licking got as Rolla used balanced scoring to again extend the lead back to seven. Midway through the third quarter, Licking’s Holland went down with sickness and was unable to return the rest of the game. Rolla hit a 3 at the buzzer to lead 39-28 after the third. The fourth quarter was ugly and Licking couldn’t muster much offense. The Lady Wildcats fell 36-51 to finish second for the second year in a row.
Anna Sullins led Licking with 9 points and 6 rebounds. Abbie Sullins scored 9 points, Holland finished with 7 points, Abby Moncrief 4 points and 6 rebounds, Kyra Taylor 3 points, Winter Murray 2 points, Maci Sparks 2 points, Kaida Cook added 3 rebounds, Kylie Taylor 3 rebounds and 2 assists. 
                                                                                                                                    Photo by Shari Harris
Licking freshman Maci Sparks and senior Karlee Holland were selected to the 2019 Rolla Holiday All Tournament team.
 “The environment was amazing tonight. Huge, loud crowd and blaring music makes it fun. The girls made a run in the third but Rolla answered. They are so well-rounded, it’s impossible to focus on just one of them. We tried to limit their posts and they hit 3s, you extend on their guards and you get scored on inside. Every game we play against elite teams is only making our kids better. Our December schedule was brutal and we will see the benefits when we get back to playing Frisco League games.” Coach Rissler.



Last Weeks Top Story