Now that the Community R-6 varsity girls basketball team has played its first official game as a member of the Capitol Activities Conference, it has sent a message to the rest of the league that whatever used to transpire might have been nice and enjoyable, but new traditions are on the way.
The first sign the Lady Trojans gave to anyone even slightly paying attention at Slater's expense was, they didn't jump out, they didn't leap out, they flew out to a 25-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. When that margin expanded to 51-6 at halftime, some of the Lady Wildcats had to be tempted to go straight to the bus or to call a loved one, but none did, to their credit. So, when CR-6's lead then ballooned to 72-10 in the third, fortunately the running clock allowed for a merciful ending at 78-12.
"Our depth was the difference tonight. We've got good players from top to bottom on this roster. When he substitute we bring in fresh bodies five a a time," said coach Bob Curtis. "That really helps us play an uptempo kind of game. We want to try and get about 60 shots a game. That's one of our goals. I thought the girls got out and ran the floor well. I liked how they established the lead. We not only got everybody in the game, everybody played well."
One reason CR-6 has an 18-person bench plus a JV squad is that so many kids want to play for Curtis, and a perfect example as to why is how he would call the same players number on consecutive possessions in this contest. For example, in the second Natalie Thomas scored the initial four points then Dalaney Bowers and Brianna Beamer combined for the next eight points. After that it was Alexis Welch whose name was called four straight times, leading to three field goals and two free throws.
"There are some good teams (in the CAC) that are going to really push us. Cairo, just looking at their body of work that's going to be an exciting matchup. Sturgeon had a great season last year. Madison is ranked in Class 1, as are we, so it's going to be exciting," Curtis said. "We're going to play those teams home and away. We're going to get after each other. (The CAC) is a good conference with a rich tradition. We're looking forward to being a part of that."
With Morgan Bryant posting the final two baskets of the second, Deann Brooks did the same to open the third, and that's when things went from organized to random in an effort to allow some younger players on the court. This included a pair of baskets each by Lauryn Robnett and Emmi Johnson, Emma Angel and Kaley Diesel both had hoops and Emma Hombs split a pair of free throws, among others.
"We wanted to look for some specific things from our offense. We had some younger players in there. We had some players who looked good late in the game, but by that point we were running our offense looking for different things," said Curtis. "Everytime down the floor we weren't necessarily looking for the same option. We were looking for the second and third option and trying to clean up what we do offensively. Late that's what we were doing, getting deeper into our options rather than our first."
The Lady Wildcats were pretty much overwhelmed by the constant full-court press defense, but in the second Emilee Grimes and Kirby Richards both scored. Abby Uhlich then accounted for all four of her squads points in the third by hitting a triple and splitting a pair of free throws and in the fourth Kinley Smith capped things off by sinking Slaters final basket.
Community R-6, 5-0 overall, 1-0 CAC, is at Sturgeon in league competition.