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Lady 'Cats 2nd in State

                                                                                                                                                            Photo by Shari Harris
The Class 3 Second Place State winners Licking Lady Wildcats earned their title, defeating Macon to get into the championship game against Strafford. The Lady ‘Cats fought a tough battle, finishing three points behind Strafford. From left, front row: Mgr. Kimrey Krewson, Anna Sullins, Kylie Taylor, Winter Murray, Karlee Holland, Abagail Moncrief; back row: Asst. Coach Rick Mosher, Asst. Coach Terri Moncrief, Tomi Rose, Kiley Ingram, Abbie Sullins, Maci Sparks, Kaida Cook, Mgr. Bailie Joyner, Head Coach Steve Rissler.
                                       Photo by Shari Harris
The LHS cheer team was full of spirit for the 
championship game.
                      Photo by Shari Harris
The team gathered before the tip.
So close….
By Coach Steve Rissler

Championship Game
The Licking Lady Wildcats played for the 2020 Class 3 state championship on Saturday versus four-time defending champion, Strafford. The Lady Cats controlled the game for the first three quarters, but with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter, turnovers and timely free throw shooting by the Lady Indians gave Strafford the lead back and they wouldn’t relinquish it to earn a five-peat.
The game started at a furious pace as Karlee Holland came out in beast mode, taking over on both ends. Holland scored 14 points in the first quarter, including nailing four out of four three-pointers with one of, if not the best, defenders in the area guarding her. Anna Sullins also came ready to play, scoring seven to help Licking lead 23-19 at the end of the first quarter. The girls stepped up defensively in the second quarter, holding Strafford to two points the last 4:33 of the quarter to take a 10-point lead, 37-27, into halftime.
                          Photo by Shari Harris
Abagail Moncrief goes up for the tip 
against Strafford’s Taylor Dormann.
                                      Photo by Shari Harris
Allie Hock and Seth Farris took the floor for 
the half-time challenge and 
hit two of the three shots to 
tie with the Strafford competitors.
Holland came out swinging again in the third, hitting back-to-back threes to start the quarter and pushing the Licking lead to 29-43 before Strafford scored a quick five points to get back in the game. Strafford closed the quarter on another 6-0 run to close the gap but Licking still led 53-47. The fourth quarter was a back and forth, high intensity eight minutes that included heroics from both squads battling for a state title. In the end, Strafford used overly physical defense to force several late turnovers that led to scores. Strafford finished the game 27/32 from the FT line while Licking only went to the line 16 times, making 12.
Holland scored 33 points on 11/18 from the field including 7/12 from three-point range, which is second all-time for threes made in a championship game. Holland also added 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Anna Sullins scored 13 points, Maci Sparks had 6 points, Abby Moncrief 4 points and 5 rebounds while only playing 13 minutes due to foul trouble, Abbie Sullins 2 points and 3 steals, Kylie Taylor 2 points and 5 assists, Tomi Rose 2 points and 3 rebounds and Winter Murray 2 rebounds. Kiley Ingram and Kaida Cook also played in the championship game.
Photo by Shari Harris
Karlee Holland connected with 
four of five free throws and 
earned second in state history for 
three point shots, shooting 
7 for 12 from three-point range. 
She also led all scorers in the 
game with 33 points.
“The girls raised their level of play today. We played well enough to win but the ball bounced the wrong way a few times late and we came up a tad short. The girls executed our stuff very well on the biggest stage and I am very proud of their performances. Holland gave the single greatest performance I’ve ever been a part of, in the biggest moment in her career. The girls played with passion and truly wanted to win a title for the community. We will be sad for a bit but in a few days we will realize how special this run was and what it meant to our town. We will eventually get a championship. Eight girls return that played in a title game and you can’t teach that. Thank you, Licking, for your support. We will bring one home soon.” Coach Rissler.
                                               Photo by Shari Harris
Licking seniors Karlee Holland, Abagail Moncrief
 and Bailie Joyner accept the second place plaque for the Lady ‘Cats.

          Photo by Shari Harris
Anna Sullins takes flight on 
this left-handed layup.
Semifinal game
Licking faced the Kansas City area representative, 24-4 Macon Tigerettes, in the semifinals at the 2020 Final Four in Springfield on Friday the 13th. Licking did not start the game well as Macon hit a three and made two jumpers to lead 7-0 before a quick timeout by Coach Rissler. Licking then went on an 11-2 run sparked by three-pointers from Maci Sparks and Anna Sullins. Licking battled back and tied the score 11-11 after the first quarter. The second quarter was an even battle as both teams struggled to get anything going offensively. Karlee Holland scored twice and Abby Moncrief got a paint bucket for all of Licking’s points in the quarter. The score was 17-17 at halftime.
                                                          Photo by Shari Harris
Kylie Taylor drives around Strafford’s Emma Compton.
Macon started the third just like the first, on a 7-0 to force a Lady ‘Cat timeout. The girls responded by going on a 15-0, to basically put the game away to finish the third quarter. Licking led 35-26 with one quarter remaining. Macon opened the fourth with a quick four points but six straight free throws from Holland and Anna Sullins, capped by a Kylie Taylor runner in the lane, pushed the lead to 43-30 with 1:28 left in the fourth. Macon hit a late three and Winter Murray held the ball the final 30 seconds as Licking advanced to the first state championship in program history.
                    Photo by Shari Harris
Karlee Holland sets a pick and 
Anna Sullins drives to the basket 
around Strafford’s Mica Chadwell.
Holland led with 16 points on 6/11 shooting. Anna Sullins scored 12 points and grabbed 5 boards, Sparks scored 7 points, Moncrief 4 points and 3 boards, Kiley Ingram 2 points and 2 rebounds, Kaida Cook had 1 rebound, Abbie Sullins had a rebound and a blocked shot, and Taylor had 2 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
“This was a huge win for the girls. We prepared for this moment for an entire year and to finally reach the title game is an awesome feeling. This win was literally a year in the making.” Coach Rissler.
Photos by Shari Harris

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