Sporting WCA

Girls Basketball Wins Wildcat New Year Shootout

Girls Basketball defeated Cor Jesu by a score of 49-31 on Saturday afternoon at Westminster to win the inaugural edition of the Wildcat New Year Shootout and improve their record to 8-3. The tournament win is the first under Coach Lawrence, and the only tournament championship for Westminster Girls Basketball since 2013.

The road to the championship was not clear or simple. After coming back from a 21-point deficit to defeat Nerinx in the first round on Thursday, Westminster then had to take on the top-seeded Pattonville Pirates. Although the Pirates entered the game with a record of 7-3 and feature a handful of dangerous guards, the Wildcats outmatched them from the start. 

“I don’t think we were too worried because seeding never fully reflects a team,” said Brooke Highmark, “We had confidence in ourselves despite our seeding.”

Pattonville played the entire game from behind, and Westminster held them to just 38 points. The Wildcats won by 12, and Highmark led the team with 23 points on five three pointers.

The championship game was played on Saturday against Cor Jesu, the number two seed in the tournament. The Wildcats jumped all over the Chargers early once again, leading 12-4 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats outscored Cor Jesu 16-9 to take a 28-13 lead to halftime. 

Westminster held on to the lead the whole second half, never letting the Chargers get too close. Cor Jesu’s best player was forced to leave the game at halftime with an injury, and the Chargers scored only two points in the final quarter. The Wildcats held the ball for the final minute to close out the game and secure the tournament victory. Brooke Highmark once again led the team in scoring with 17 points, while Carlie Vick added nine and Macey Lottmann secured ten rebounds.

After entering the tournament as the five seed, the Wildcats defeated the number one and number two seeds to win the tournament. The championship is their greatest accomplishment of the season so far, but hopefully it won’t remain that way. Although the Wildcats have far more important goals in mind, these wins are important milestones that show the team’s progress in recent years. The tournament win seems especially impressive considering that the Wildcats played without Freshman guard Reilly Brophy the entire tournament and missed Senior forward Claire Sanden for the final two games. Both players play critical roles on the team.

Seniors Kiley McKee and Kristen Keys scored 29 and 18 points over the three-day tournament, respectively. Both players have been critical to the turnaround the program has seen in the last few years. McKee is closing in on 1,000 points for her career as she leads the team in scoring for the third straight season. After two seasons where the team combined for just 14 wins, both players are ready for a big year. 

“Every practice and game we have continued to get better as a team, and we are going to keep getting better as the season progresses,” said Highmark, “This team definitely has the potential to go far this year.”