While the Community R-6 varsity girls basketball team may have drawn a 2 a.m. tipoff against Herculaneum Sunday morning for its game in the Norm Stewart Classic, the entire team and coaching staff was also given hotel rooms in order to compensate for the myriad of issues this could create.
Head coach Bob Curtis and his staff aren't new to the 24 games in 48 hours format of this event, either, so they made all the neccesary adjustments and were more than ready to play come game time. While Herculaneum was playing under the exact same circumstances, perhaps they weren't quite as experienced with the scenario because the Lady Trojans were running over them 19-3 at the end of the first quarter and after getting outscored 20-4 in the second Herculaneum was down 39-7 at halftime.
CR-6's lead didn't waiver much after that as Natalie Thomas went on to win the Gary Filbert Game MVP Award by charting 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals and a block as Herculaneum finally fell 64-34.
"Herculaneum is a solid class 3 school that won over 25 games a year ago in the St. Louis area. They have started this year 2-1 before the game with us with their only loss coming to Jennings in the first round of the Principia Tournament," said Curtis. "They're a solid team as they indicated in the second half Sunday Morning. Defensively we executed our game plan against their spread offense. We managed to get the tempo to our liking, getting 28 shots in the first and playing very fast in transition."
Herculaneum's strongest quarter was the third when it posted an 18-14 scoring advantage. The Lady Trojans the came back to edge out the fourth 11-9 thanks to Dalaney Bowers also giving a 16-point, seven rebound performance with four steals and one assist.
"It is fun to play well in this event in the early morning at an odd hour when you typically wouldn't play," Curtis said. "Norm has told the players in this event the story of his favorite time as a player and coach was when he was a boy growing up in Shelbyville, Mo sneaking into the school there thru the coal shoot to play basketball in the gymnasium with his friends in the wee hours of the morning. He felt like a rebel and said it was some of the most fun he has had in his life regarding hoops."
Community R-6's only other scorer in double digits was Brianna Beamer with 10 points, three assists and two rebounds, a showing Deann Brooks complimented by going 4-for-4 from the floor to rack up eight points, three boards, one assist and a steal and Sadie Hoyt dropped in six points and two rebounds. Morgan Bryant was also good for three points, Emma Hombs and Emma Angel chipped in with two points each and adding one point was Delanie Windmann.
"This is where the idea of 48 hours of basketball stems from as it does not occur anywhere else in the US. What a great opportunity to stay in Columbia overnight and have some team bonding time and plays some ball," said Curtis. "Games are streamed on ESPN3. We are blessed to be invited. Holding this caliber team to two field goal's and just seven points in a half was a special Norm Stewart Classic game for us."
Community R-6 hosted Van-Far on Tuesday and welcomes Slater on Friday.