In a contest played at the middle school because Louisiana was unable to host and the boys' already had a home game scheduled, the Montgomery County varsity girls' basketball team defeated the Lady Bulldogs' on Thursday 56-38.
"Louisiana is a team we knew was going to try and push and when they got in their half court defense sit back and play a 2-3," said coach Joe Basinger. "Everything we expected them to do, they did."
Still riding the momentum of a 16-4 first quarter, the Lady Wildcats just kept widening that gap in the second and were up 27-7 at 3:15 despite five missed free throws. Hailey Hill and Hannah Prior then bucked that trend by combining to go 4-for-6 from the charity stripe and Anna Henke hit a field goal to make the score 31-10 at 1:31. That just left a pair of baskets by Haeley Johnson and another free throw by Prior to send the game into the break with Montgomery County leading 35-12.
"Hannah (Prior) is super athletic. She's someone who we always want to get going," Basinger said. "We're seeing some more consistent scoring and she really did a nice job attacking back in the lane against their zone. She did some nice things."
The third began with a much slower pace and featured hoops by Kayla Schmidt and Prior and a triple by Henke. After that this trio just kept paying dividends for Montgomery County until it found itself ahead 50-18 at 1:21 and 52-20 at the end of the quarter.
"Kayla is a nice player in the post for us. I think we need to do a better job at times of getting her the ball, but when she does get the ball she's tough to handle down low," said Basinger. "She had a nice night."
Louisiana did find some life in fourth and started with an 8-0 run on two field goals each from Jasmin Burse and Kyjiah Clark. The Lady Bulldog's even pulled to within 54-33 on three-pointer by Brianna St. Clair and baskets from Samantha Henderson and Clark, and while the Lady Wildcats did respond to that by missing three-straight free throws, they still were able to walk away with an 18-point victory.
"We've been focusing on rebounding the last couple nights. We haven't been rebounding as well," Basinger said. "I thought we did a better job of that tonight. We've also worked on taking care of the ball on offense, and at times we did that really well. Other times we still struggled with that. Those are our points of emphasis going forward."
Montgomery County, 7-8 overall, is at the Hermann Tournament Jan. 23-28.