By Amanda Perkins
Sisters Makenzie and Tommi Gardner combined for 30 points Monday evening to help Mountain Grove take down Cabool on the road, 61-37.
The tandem helped spark their team in the rout. In an otherwise lackluster first quarter that brought the Lady Panthers just two points ahead of their competitors, Tommi added six points. In the second, Makenzie connected on a bucket and two shots from downtown.
Guard Rachel Loughridge was also a pivotal player who racked up assists in the quarter, dishing the ball to not only Makenzie but also Alisha Condos and Kacey Watson, who scored six and four in the quarter, respectively. Mountain Grove entered the half with a 37-24 lead.
The Lady Panthers increased their lead by 10 as Cabool struggled to break their zone and failed to connect on outside shots. Mountain Grove held Cabool scoreless in the third, helping propel them to victory.
“We were intense,” said Mountain Grove head coach Vallie Hoerning. “Defensively, we did shut them down in the second half and it was the difference in the game. Then we rebounded, were smarter with the ball, and took better shots. It was a good team effort.”
Mountain Grove’s record improved to 6-3, while Cabool dropped to 4-4. Mountain Grove won only two games last season, one of which was against Cabool in its regular season finale.
Cabool head coach Rance Beller said his team struggled defensively Monday night and missed assignments. “It was just not a good effort as far as execution, but give the credit to Mtn. Grove, they hit some good shots and did some good things, and I thought they played well,” he said. “It’s still early and we have a bunch of good kids who are just learning the system,” he added.
The Lady Panthers will next compete in their own 16-team holiday tourney. “It’s a really nice tournament with a lot of good teams and will be very competitive,” said Coach Hoerning. The Lady Bulldogs will be part of the Koshkonong Tournament after Christmas.
Scoring for Mtn. Grove: Makenzie Gardner, 16, Tommi Gardner, 14, Alisha Condos, 12, Rachel Loughridge, 9, Kacey Watson, 8, and Ashton Albrecht, 2.
Scoring for Cabool: Katelyn Ellison, 11, Kaila Shannon, 8, Alyssa Matherly, 8, Jaydra Johnson, 6, Joelle Atkins, 2, and Kaitlen Beller, 2.