It wasn't that long ago that an area coach told me that those who enjoy mentoring kids never fear the responsibility that comes with that task, and Montgomery County varsity girls basketball coach Joe Basinger is one of those individuals who relishes the chance to make a difference.
It's that willingness to shape the lives and foster the minds of the next generation that lets one and all know that his team might be a lot of things, but one things they'll never be is unprepared. That's why issues such as Holiday breaks are less of an on-court issue for his program. But, that doesn't mean that he, his staff or his players are infallible, a fact Orchard Farm worked incredibly hard to prove at the Lady Wildcats in non-conference competition on Wednesday.
In the second half Orchard Farm did exactly that by taking a 30-22 disadvantage to start the third and turning it into a 43-38 lead heading into the fourth before finally slipping past Montgomery County 59-53 despite 19 and 11 points by Kayla Schmidt and Renee Finke, respectively.
"We came out and played about as well as we have played all year in the first half. We controlled the glass and made them take mostly contested shots," said Basinger. "The third quarter was the unraveling for us, we got in a little foul trouble and weren't able to contain them as well off the bounce. Offensively we became very passive and indecisive. We cut to three a couple times late but we could never get over the hump."
The Lady Wildcat had several other players who strongly objected to this outcome and proved it with their performance, as well. This includes Paige Oden with eight points, Anna Henke had seven points and Haeley Johnson scored six. Makenna Meyer also chipped in with two points.
Montgomery County, 6-5 overall, 3-0 Eastern Missouri Conference, is at the South Callaway Tournament Jan. 8-13 and on Jan. 22 the Lady Wildcats face Chamois at 7:30 p.m. in round one of the Hermann Tournament.