By Steven Kochersperger
Many things take time to recover after a blizzard. And with the blizzard we saw in Posey County last week no one would have thought it would be the Mount Vernon girl’s basketball team that would need time to recover.
But the Lady Wildcats hosted Big Eight Conference opponent the Boonville Pioneers on Thursday night and came out of the block very slowly, eventually recovering and pulling out the win 57-38.
The opening period of the contest was admittedly a sloppily-played game for both the Pioneers and the Wildcats. Both teams struggled to score and hold onto the ball.
The Cats took the lead in the opening period behind the defensive efforts of seniors Jacey Ritzert and Jade Dixon and led 12-1 after the quarter-ending buzzer sounded.
“Both teams have been given days off during the Christmas break and with the snow storm we have had even more of a break,” Wildcat coach Steve Mitchell said after the game. ”The beginning of the game was shaky because of that. Both teams were trying to shake off the cobwebs and get the feel for the game back.”
Both teams seemed to shake those cobwebs off in the second period of play. Both schools found their hot shooters and took turns scoring baskets. But when the halftime buzzer sounded it was the Lady Cats who had the lead at 29-15.
The Wildcats came out of the locker room intent on shutting the game down with their defense. And just as they have done several times this season the defense made all the difference. The Wildcats allowed only four points in the third period and only one field goal. The defense created turnovers and many scoring opportunities. When the period was over the lead built and the game seemed out of hand at 48-19.
But Boonville would make a run at the Wildcats in the final period of play behind their three-point shooting. Boonville hit seven three pointers in the contest and five of those came in the second half alone. Boonville would outscore the Wildcats 14-9 in the final period but it would not be nearly enough to defeat the Wildcats. The Cats won the game 57-38 and improved their record to 9-2 on the season.
“We expected to step up in this game,” Mitchell said. ”We did that in the second half and are pleased with the win.” The Wildcats were led in scoring by Ritzert who had 15. Senior Jade Dixon had 12 while Cheyenne Strobel had 10 for the Cats.
The win over the Pioneers was an important conference win for the Lady Cats. The Wildcats now travel to Mount Carmel this week (Jan 3) to take on the 16-0 Lady Golden Aces before heading to Vincennes on Saturday to play Vincennes Lincoln. The Mount Carmel game will be a battle that features phenom Tyra Buss.
Buss, who has verbally committed to play basketball for Indiana Universit, has already outscored several Aces opponents single-handedly this season. The Wildcats look forward to seeing where they stack up against a great team like this.
“Mount Carmel is more than just Tyra,” Mitchell said. “They have several girls who can shoot and are a very dangerous team to contend with.”
The Wildcats continue to climb the Indiana High school girls basketball polls behind their great season and are now currently ranked No. 12 in the state.