By Stephen Buus (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
For all the state championships and all the individual accolades that the Skyline girls have achieved over the years, their 2018 Class 2 District 10 championship victory over Spokane might go down in history as one of their best all-around performances ever.
How so? Consider the fact that in topping the Owls 67-51 at Morrisville, the Lady Tigers committed no turnovers in the first half—zip, zero, nada—and only coughed up the basketball five times in the last 16 minutes. Not only that, they limited one of the area’s top guards, Spokane senior Casey Wallace, to just three field goals and 10 points total.
“It helps if you have good guards,” Skyline coach Kevin Cheek explained. “We’ve talked in the last 35 days about valuing the basketball, and we went through a stretch there where we had 15, 16, 17 turnovers. You know, our seniors probably average about 11 turnovers per game for their career.
“We didn’t shoot very well this evening. But you get through that game with no turnovers [in the first half] and five in the second, you give yourself a good chance.”
Except for a brief stretch in the second quarter where the Owls took a pair of one-point leads thanks to threes from senior Taylor Riott and sophomore Micayla McClure, the Lady Tigers were in complete control. Senior Kaylee DaMitz led Skyline with 23 points while junior Autumn Garrett added 15, six of them coming on back-to-back-to-back breakaway layups following steals. Senior Savannah Owen also hit double figures with 14 points.
With Wallace contained, Spokane’s six-foot sophomore Paige Tate tried to keep her team in the game with 21 points but they weren’t enough.
Cheek said, “If Wallace gets it going, she’s pretty dangerous. Autumn Garrett did a tremendous job on her. She guarded Wallace almost the entire game and really got us going in the third quarter.”
Spokane coach Dale Patton said, “I thought our girls did everything they could do. They played extremely well, played with heart. Right at the start of the third quarter [Skyline] ran set after set instead of going one-on-one with us; that was the difference of the game.
“They’re not the No. 1 team in the state for nothing, and we hung with them as long as we could, and they just took over at the end.”
Skyline improved to 27-2 and advances to play Richland on Wednesday in the Class 2 sectionals at Lebanon. The Owls ended their season at 19-9.
Spokane 8 16 16 11—51
Skyline 15 17 21 14—67
Spokane: Paige Tate 21, Casey Wallace 10, Zabrina Hodges 8, Taylor Riott 7, Micayla McClure 3, Kaylee Armitage 2.
Skyline: Kaylee DaMitz 23, Autumn Garrett 15, Savannah Owen 14, Sarah Cunningham 6, Keelie Holmes 4, Chloe Cole 3.