The Kiowa County Lady Mavericks improved to 3-4-0 on the season with their 43-27 win over the Lady Wildcats, but a slow second half almost sank the Mavs who had stifled the Wildcats offense in the first two quarters.
The defensive game came up big for the Mavs, as the Wildcats were seemingly caught off balance by the Mavericks strong backcourt pressure. The Mavericks had their best offensive first half of the season, scoring 30 points, a 12-point first and an 18-point second, to Minneola’s 3-point first and 7-point second.
“In the first half we executed like we had planned the previous week,” said Head Coach Randy VandenHoek. “We changed up defenses, tried to keep them off balance a little bit. Plus we were able to have some offense. It gave us some great momentum in the first half.”
But the offense stumbled in the second half and the Wildcats, having figured out the Mavs defense, scored 13 unanswered points in the third quarter with a huge contribution from junior #11 Keira Parr, who carried the Wildcats for most of the night. Parr was responsible for half of the total Minneola offense, leaving the game with 19 points and a steal.
“We wanted to keep doing what we were doing, “ said Vandenhoek. “We wanted to keep putting the ball in the basket. It’s tough when the other team is rebounding and running around you. We were always in transition and could never get set up.”
The Mavericks topped Minneola with a 43-37 final, despite only scoring 13 combined points in the last two quarters, with a trio of free throws making the difference in the final minutes of the fourth.
Angela Liggett, #33 shot .670 percent from the field with a 12-point, team-leading offensive performance that included five rebounds and a pair of steals. Riann Heft, #22 had an 11-point game and shot .777 from the free throw line, sinking six in nine attempts. Katelynn Gamble, #00 contributed with 1.000 percent shooting from the free throw line in six tries. Gamble, as always, provided a lion’s share of the team’s offensive and defensive fire, a factor that is never accounted for in the line score.
Overall the Lady’s shot .390 percent from the field and .739 percent from the free throw line, but turned the ball over 26 times and struggled on second chances, logging only three offensive rebounds to their dozen defensive rebounds.
With another division game on Tuesday against the 1-6-1 Hodgeman County Longhorns, the Mavs have a chance to gain more ground, having jumped two spots since last Friday’s win.
“I expect Hodgeman to come at us pretty aggressively,” continued Vandenhoek. “ They’re always sound in their defense, rebounding pretty aggressively. We’re going to see some defense that we haven’t see yet this year. If we can stay aggressive and keep the momentum from last week and keep our confidence, I think we’re have a good game.”