Cassville, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- In their previous meeting this season, the Cassville Lady Wildcats built a big lead on Monett through three quarters then held off a fourth quarter charge by the Lady Cubs.
Tonight it was Monett jumping out to a quick lead, going up 11-6 after one quarter. But from there, it was all Cassville as they took the lead at halftime and didn’t look back to take a 37-26 win at home.
The win was also special as it came on Cassville’s first Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Night. The cause is close to Cassville coach Chris Shore’s heart.
“My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s this fall. I talked to the girls the very first practice this year about doing this and they said ‘Let’s do it.’ When they said that, I was ready to roll with it. Our goal was to raise $300 and I think we’ve made close to $500. That’s a pretty good job for our first year.”
Monett got out to their quick start via the long ball as Brooke McLean, Elizebeth Arnold, and Faith Schmidt each hit from behind the arc. “They kind of surprised us a little bit.” said Shore of the early barrage.
“We felt like if we could keep them from getting anything easy, that the odds were in our favor. It ended up working out that way.”
A 10-4 second quarter gave Cassville a 16-15 lead at the half. The Lady Cats defense held Monett to just a single field goal in the period. On the offensive end, four different Cassville players found the bottom of the net with senior post Emily Speakman getting a pair of buckets.
After the break, Cassville would continue the stout defense and opened the half on an 8-1 run to push the lead to 24-16. Monett would not go away though as a free throw from Kelsey Wiseman, then a jumper from Schmidt would pull them within five points at 24-19 late in the third. But Cassville would then slam the door shut.
The Lady Cats would score 10 straight points as sophomore Britani Long would net six of her game-high 16 points in the run to help push the lead out to 15. From there, Monett would get a final three from Schmidt to make the final score 37-26, but it was Cassville getting their first Big 8 conference win of the year.
With Monett keying on Speakman, Cassville’s leading scorer, Long’s night was a welcome sight for Shore.
“That was big because teams spend most of their energy guarding Emily,” he said. “When someone else has a big night, they have to guard us more straight up. Once Britani gets going, she’s gonna have a pretty good night.”
Cassville will next face East Newton at home Thursday, while Monett will travel to Seneca.
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