By Brian Hall
Mount Vernon, Mo. — Even though the Springfield Catholic Lady Irish just played their fourth game of the season, Coach Dan Stander has had to revamp his squad after he lost team captain and point guard Emma Lucas to a broken hand the first game of the season.
Players have had to adapt quickly, doing things they don’t normally do. “We’re trying to regroup and really refocus,” said Coach Stander. “People are changing roles. It’s almost like starting the season over again.”
Even with the changes the Lady Irish withstood a furious fourth quarter attack by the Lady Mountaineers in Mt. Vernon Tuesday night, escaping with a 58-57 victory.
Catholic (2-2) had built an 11-pont lead with 4:40 on the clock. After a timeout called by Mt Vernon head coach Dusty Killingsworth, the Lady Mt’Neers switched up their defense from a zone to a full court, man-to-man trapping defense.
Over the next four minutes the Lady Mt’Neers rolled off 9 straight points while forcing several Catholic turnovers. Leading the attack for Mt Vernon was sophomore Cameron Call. Call had 22 points in the game to lead all scorers. She also tallied four rebounds and five assists.
Down two, Mt Vernon (1-1) fouled Olivia Watson. Watson sank both free throws to build the lead back to four points (58-54) with 30 seconds remaining. Watson had 12 points for Catholic.
With 11.7 left, Mt Vernon had the chance to get the margin back to two with Ashlyn McCanless on the free throw line. She hit one of two. After a quick foul and a missed free throw by Catholic, the Lady Mt’Neers put up a desperation three-point shot that fell into the hands of McCanless under the basket. She put in the uncontested two point basket as time expired to make the final score 58-57.
Coach Stander was most impressed by Mt Vernon and their leading scorer, Call. “What can I say about Call? If she’s not the best sophomore guard in the area I don’t know who is,” said Stander.
Stander also had good things to say about a couple of his sophomores. “I told Jaycee (Cabasi) that in the two years I’ve been coaching her that this was her best game. She used to sit out there and hit the three. Now she’s driving, penetrating, and making shots.” Stander continued, “Madison (Chittenden) has assumed the role of captain now and you could see her try to calm the girls down a bit. She’s doing a great job.”
Cabasi scored 20 points to lead the Lady Irish. Chittenden had 10 points, eight boards, 3 assists, and three blocks.
Both teams resume play on Thursday. Catholic has their home opener against Ash Grove while Mt Vernon heads to Diamond.
Mt Vernon: 10-12-15-20 57
Catholic: 14- 8- 24-12 58
Mt Vernon: Call, 22; Hicks, 7; Hood, 4; McCanless, 11; Veith, 7; Yeats, 6
Catholic: Cabasi, 20; Chittenden, 10; Edwards, 8; Murphy, 8; Wilson, 12