Posted: Wednesday, 06 March 2013 3:41PM

Final Four Preview: Skyline Lady Tigers

Springfield, Mo. (  -- Final Four Primer: Skyline (25-6)
After spending years battling in some of Class 3’s toughest districts, the Lady Tigers dropped down to Class 2 and find themselves in Columbia for the first time since back-to-back visits in 2008 & 2009. Will the Lady Tigers add another state title to their rich tradition?
Journey through the Tourney – Skyline ran through District 13, easily dispatching Lincoln and Adrian before ending Archie’s undefeated season 52-39. Sectionals saw the Lady Tigers top Windsor 47-38 and the quarterfinals needed the mercy rule for the 61-33 beat down of Maysville. The semifinals offer the Lady Tigers a nearly identical foe in the Crane Lady Pirates.
Why they should win – Skyline is the Rocky Balboa of basketball. The Lady Tigers are still playing because they refuse to be outworked or outplayed. Watching them play, it seems like every loose ball goes their way. Defensively, they live in your jersey and play a physical brand of basketball that most teams never adjust to. Typically, teams that force turnovers, turn the ball of themselves because of the pace they play at. Not Skyline, the Lady Tigers, who force 17 turnovers a game, turn the ball over just 10 times a night. Also, Kevin Cheek put together a schedule that has continually challenged his team night in and night out. Five of the six teams that beat the Lady Tigers this year advanced to the state tournament, with none of those losses coming to a Class 2 team. It is no coincidence that Skyline, like most teams in the Final Four, has great balance. Four Lady Tigers average between nine and 15 points per game, with five different girls leading the team in scoring in at least one game this season. Sophomore Madisen Brethower leads Skyline with 15 ppg.

Pictures: Skyline vs. Branson - CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

Bump in the road – Skyline isn’t very deep. Prolonged foul trouble, especially to 6-foot junior post Hannah Myers, will leave the Lady Tigers at a disadvantage. Also, at times Skyline struggles to hit shots. When they are hot, it seems like everything is going in, but their cold spells can get pretty chilly. At times, they fall in love with shooting threes (about 21 attempts per game) which can lead to long rebounds and transition opportunities that a team like Crane will take advantage of.

Pictures: Skyline vs. Marionville - CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

X – Factor: Krista Gideon – The junior point guard is about as tough as they come. Watch her for five minutes and you’ll swear that Coach Shelby could throw some shoulder pads on her and she’d be an All-Mid-Lakes running back. She typically draws the toughest defensive assignment, as well as keying the Lady Tigers offensive attack. Without Gideon, Skyline wouldn’t be in the Final Four, however to move on they will need more from her. At times she shows flashes of how great her shooting ability is, but she also allows misses to linger with her. If Gideon can shoot the ball conscious free like she is capable of, Skyline may just take home another state title to Hickory County.

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