By Pat Dailey (For OzarkSportsZone.com)
FAIR GROVE — Kaylee DaMitz and Skyline’s seniors assured themselves of an undefeated run against Mid-Lakes Conference rival Fair Grove with a 68-61 triumph Thursday in the teams’ third and final matchup this season.
Over the past four seasons, the Lady Tigers’ seniors are 11-0 against the Lady Eagles. Overall, Skyline owns 14 straight wins against Fair Grove. That’s been no easy feat, considering the Lady Eagles are 71-21 against everyone else during that span.
“It is really cool when you can say you never lost to somebody,” DaMitz said. “They’ll be coming after us next year. But us seniors, we’ll be gone.”
DaMitz was actually gone from Thursday’s game with 2:15 to play, having fouled out for the first time this season. But by the time she went to Skyline’s bench, she had poured in 27 points.
DaMitz was too quick for Fair Grove on the perimeter and even at 5-foot-6, too much on the boards for the Lady Eagles to handle.
“We struggled staying in front of Kaylee,” Fair Grove coach Jenny Talbert said. “She’s super quick and great off the dribble. We threw two or three bodies at her. We did whatever we could against her. But she does a great job sneaking inside and sometimes she’d miss a shot and get her own rebound. That’s incredible effort on her part and not a lot of effort on our part.
“I can’t say I’m disappointed that’s the last time we’ll play her.”
“I think it’s remarkable the way she finishes around the basket,” Skyline coach Kevin Cheek added. “She can get twisted around a defender and still make it go in. Once she gets her motor going, it’s hard to stop.”
DaMitz, a Pitt State signee, said she’s proud of the work she’s done that has resulted in her exceptional first step, either to her right or left.
“It’s about being in the gym and working,” DaMitz said. “I do a lot of agilities and one-on-one. I’m always trying to work on that first step.”
Fair Grove (16-5) was minus its best all-around player, Alana Findley, for the final four minutes of the second quarter. Her absence was crucial.
After Findley picked up her third foul during a scrum under Fair Grove’s basket for a loose ball, the Lady Eagles trailed 20-19 with 4:14 to play in the quarter. After she was subbed for, Skyline went up 33-19 with 2:20 remaining.
“That was a huge call and I wish we could take it back,” Talbot said. “It really affected the game. After that, we struggled even getting the ball past half-court. I had girls who were scared to dribble it and attack against them.”
Fair Grove, which was 6-of-15 from the foul line in the first half, pulled to within five in the second half, but could get no closer.
Harley Maxwell had 25 points and Findley 20 for the Lady Eagles.
In addition to DaMitz’s 27 points, Skyline (19-2) received 19 points from Chloe Cole.
Cheek was pleased how his bunch bounced back from its 20-point defeat at Clever on Monday.
“We were going to go to the locker room tonight and talk about how Skyline hadn’t lost two in a row in a long time and hadn’t lost to Fair Grove in a long time,” Cheek said. “But at about halftime of the jayvee game, I said to them, ‘The only thing that matters is how you respond from Monday.’
“I’m proud of the way they responded. These girls are a pretty competitive lot. Tonight we got better as a group.”
“We’re back on track,” DaMitz said.
Skyline 10 27 11 10 – 68
Fair Grove 13 9 15 24 – 61
SKYLINE (68) – Chloe Cole 19, Kaylee DaMitz 27, Keelie Holmes 4, Kylie Craig 2, Autumn Garrett 10, Sarah Cunningham 6.
FAIR GROVE (61) – Brooklyn Luna 2, Sutherland 6, Cydney Fullerton 4, Maddie Clark 1, Taylor Bell 3, Alana Findley 19, Harley Maxwell 25.