Posted: Wednesday, 06 March 2013 11:30AM

Final Four Preview: Chadwick Lady Cardinals

Springfield, Mo. (  -- Final Four Primer: Chadwick (25-5)

Walnut Grove wasn’t the only team that had its season ended at the hands of the Eminence last season. Chadwick also fell to the eventual state champs 66-55 in Sectionals. Chadwick is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2005, will this season end with the Lady Cardinals hoisting a state title too?
Journey through the Tourney – The Lady Cardinals rolled through District 4, routing Hurley and Verona by a combined 67 points. Sectionals wasn’t much more entertaining, with Chadwick shaking off a slow start to blast Bunker 70-39. The quarterfinals marked the first time in nearly a month that Chadwick was challenged, but the Lady Cardinals would prevail, 61-52 over Naylor.

Pictures: Chadwick vs. Bunker - CLICK HERE

Why they should win – Balance is an important aspect of life, and the same logic holds true in basketball. The Lady Cardinals, who have four players averaging double figures, are extremely balanced. Led by MSHSAA’s single-season 3-point record holder Maddie Hursh’s 21 ppg and 146 made 3-pointers this season, Chadwick comes at you in waves. Coach Meinders’ team likes to pressure full-court, and convert turnovers into easy offense. Chadwick averages nearly 18 steals per game, and the Lady Cardinals are at their best when they are in transition. Senior post Kelsey Ruhland (10 ppg, 8 rpg) anchors the paint for the Lady Cards and sophomore forward Kailyn Rozell is a great second scoring option to Hursh (13 ppg).

Pictures: Chadwick vs. Verona - CLICK HERE

Bump in the road – For teams that are used to playing at a high-tempo, grind-it-out kind of games are tough to adjust to. Chadwick isn’t very efficient offensively in the half-court, and struggle in slower games. Bunker was able to hang with the Lady Cardinals early because they were able to get them from getting out in transition. Chadwick must control pace to be successful.

Pictures: Chadwick vs. New Covenant - CLICK HERE

X – Factor: Hailey Stevens – The sophomore point guard is extremely quick and really ignites the Lady Cardinal press. For Chadwick to get over the hump in Columbia she will have to be better offensively. When Stevens is attacking off the dribble Chadwick is very good. Her penetration leads to easy buckets inside for Rozell and Ruhland and wide open treys for Hursh. An aggressive Stevens equals better offense for the Lady Cards.

Pictures: Chadwick vs. Pleasant Hope - CLICK HERE

What lays ahead - Chadwick opens with 28-2 Walnut Grove at 6:40 p.m. in the Hearnes Center on Thursday. The Lady Cardinals will then draw either Mercer (28-1) or Chamois (22-7).

Pictures: Chadwick vs. Seymour - CLICK HERE

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