Sporting WCA

Lady Cats Drop Season Opener in Close Game

The Lady Wildcats basketball team dropped a close game at Marquette in their season opener by a score of 51-42.

Coming off a season where the Cats finished with a record of 3-22, the team is determined to improve on that considerably this season. While the Cats did not earn the win last night, they certainly showed a lot of potential against a very tough and a very tall Marquette team.

The team got off to a hot start as superb Sophomore Kiley McKee recorded the first 4 points of the game. The rest of the first half was very back and forth, and fouls from Senior Captain Alivia Johnston led to the Cat’s having to play the majority of the half with 3 Sophomores on the court. These Sophomores, however, combined to get 18 of the team’s 22 first half points.

The majority of these points came from Kirsten Keys and Kiley McKee. Both of these girls were on Varsity their freshman year and look to step into a bigger role in their second year on Varsity. They certainly achieved that in last night’s game, as the two players each scored in the double digits in addition to hauling in a combined 7 rebounds. Keys’s and McKee’s contributions were key to keeping the game close throughout the first half as the Wildcats were very much in the game at the half.

Marquette went on a 12-2 run to start the second half and held a 38- 24 lead very quickly. With things starting to look a little bleak for the Cats, the leadership of the two captains Jordan Hauesser and Natalie Bunton started to put the squeeze on the Mustangs offense. Hauesser was very opportunistic as she forced an amazing 4 jump balls and recorded 5 steals. Bunton also recorded a couple steals along with 3 assists. Bunton was even able to run the length of the court and make contested layups a couple different times as the Wildcats worked to get back into the game. And get back into the game they did as the Cats, who were down by as much as 16 points, got the game back to within 6 points late in the fourth quarter. However, the clutch 3 pointer to make things really interesting eluded the Cats as they were not able to complete the comeback, and they fell by a score of 51- 42.

With youth stepping up on offense and the veterans stepping up on the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats showed a lot of potential to not only to have a deadly offensive game, but to be able to shut down teams on the other side of the ball as well.

“The rest of the season is really looking good. Last night, we figured out the things we need to work on: boxing out, free throws and just being in the best shape we can be to push the ball. All of which is easy stuff we can fix and work on in practice. It’s exciting to know what we need to work on and if we fix those things, this season is going to be really fun for us,” said Junior Captain Jordan Hauesser.

As mentioned before, the majority of the Westminster offense came from the Sophomores Kirsten Keys and Kiley McKee. The two younger players stepping up was huge for the Cats to stay in the game and this effort did not slip past the leadership of the team.

“Kristen and Kiley were both aggressive and saw the floor and figured out how to score. They both have stepped up this season and will need to continue too. We are looking to them to be two of our main scorers. They both know how to get to the basket, yet also can shoot from outside which is rare for a lot of teams. Their versatility will help us win games, simple as that,” said Hauesser about her younger teammates.

Hauesser shined on the defensive side of the ball. And although it may not be the most glorious stat, she was able to force 4 jump balls that no doubt made a difference in the game.

“I love defense. It’s as much about mental strength as it is physical, you have to be aware at all times and you have to know who you are guarding. Forcing turnovers and jump balls is a direct result of that because you have to be physically aggressive and mentally ready to seize an opportunity. Defense isn’t about who is the tallest or fastest, it’s about who can put themselves in the best position between the ball and the basket to either get in the face of a shooter or take the ball from them,” said Hauesser about her mindset on that side of the ball.

Come out and watch the Lady Cats all next week in their tournament at Troy High School.