By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
It was an historic night in Spokane as senior Casey Wallace broke the Missouri all-time career record for 3-pointers made, while helping the Lady Owls defeat the Gainesville Lady Bulldogs, 48-36. The previous record was 367 held by Chadwick’s Maddie Hursh. Southwest Missouri now has the top four 3-point shooters (girls) in the state record book for their careers. Wallace tied the record on Saturday and needed to make just one to set the record.
“I wanted to get it out of the way early,” said Wallace. “It feels amazing; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my family, and God, my team and everyone behind me supporting me. I was a little nervous before the game, that comes with it, but I try not to get nervous. My teammates were helping me to stay calm, telling me I’d get it and they’d be helping me; that made it better. Everybody throughout the day kept saying ‘you’re going to hit it, you’ll hit it’ and I kept saying that if God says it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”
Spokane jumped out early on Gainesville and never looked back. At the end of the first quarter, Spokane led 14-5. Gainesville made a comeback in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 23-17. Gainesville never could get on track, offensively, and had no answer to Spokane’s inside game.
Leading Spokane with a double-double was sophomore post player Paige Tate with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
“We worked together as a team and we got the ball inside and out, and I think that really helped,” said Tate. “I’ve been working on my free throws a lot in practice, we all have. We shoot about 30-40 every practice. Rebounds were key to the inside game tonight. Getting offensive put-backs and having my team shooting from the outside really helped me out.”
With Spokane leading by eight, 32-24, at the end of the third quarter, the free throw practice began to pay off. In the fourth quarter, Spokane slowed down the tempo and worked the ball inside. The Lady Owls drew several fouls and went to the free throw line 16 times in the fourth quarter; they were perfect from the line, draining all 16. They would not have a bucket in the fourth quarter.
“We obviously had a pretty tough night, offensively,” said Gainesville coach Morris Jenkins. “You’ve got to give Spokane credit, they did a good job guarding us. We just didn’t seem to play with a lot of energy. I don’t know really what to attribute that to. I thought Spokane’s inside game was physical and their size hurt us. I’m confident these girls will bounce back and play well as we move forward. We had a lot of things offensively that we feel like we need to do better against a team that’s going to guard us well, which I thought Spokane did. We’ll get back to the gym, try to work hard, and try to get better as we move toward Districts.”
Wallace had two 3-pointers and 11 points total on the night. The Lyon College signee was happy to defeat a determined Gainesville squad.
“We wanted to come out and get a win with Gainesville and just really compete with them,” said Wallace. “It was not easy, not at all. We had to step up our defense, defense is very important to me. Whenever I go to Lyon they are going to expect me to be an all-around player and I’ve got to start early to get up to speed with them. I believe we’ll come out with a winning season this year, just progress each game and get better as we go along.”
Spokane assistant coach Michelle Tate has been part of the Owls’ junior high and high school coaching staff for several years.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have been Casey’s coach for six years, since junior high,” said Coach Tate. “She is an amazing girl; her work ethic, her leadership. I’m going to miss her. We have a young group coming up and we have some rebuilding to do when we lose these seniors. We do have two of Casey’s little sisters coming up, though, so that’s nice. They are both shooters, too. One is more physical and one is more of a shooter. You’re not done seeing the Wallace girls.”
Gainesville 5 12 7 12 -36
Spokane 14 9 9 16 -48
Gainesville—Cassie Carlo-9, Aspyn Britt-8, Shayla Wages-7, Elizabeth Kinworthy-6, Shelby Smith-3, Erin McKinzie-3
Spokane—Paige Tate-13, Casey Wallace-11, Kaylee Armitage-9, Taylor Riott-7, Alexys Hodges-3, Zabryna Hodges-3, Micayla McClure-2