KEARNEY — Where the Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets’ looming trek through the bulk of their Midland Empire Conference schedule may take them, in terms of wins and losses, is uncertain, but they have at least given themselves justifiable hope of salvaging a once-promising season.
Friday in the seventh-place game of the Bulldog Classic tournament, the Lady Hornets edged back to the .500 mark at 7-7 by avoiding what could have been a confidence-shattering loss.
“This was a ‘must-have,’ at this point,” admitted CHS head coach Rachael Parkey.
Capitalizing on their own-season-best 50 percent shooting and horrible outside shooting by their opposition, the CHS girls dashed to an 11-0 lead in the game’s first five minutes and eventually twice led by as many as 21 points before settling for a less-shiny 43-28 victory over the Kearney junior varsity.
The victory snapped a 4-games losing streak for the Lady Hornets and squared their 2012-13 mark at 7-7 heading into a home game tomorrow night against a very good Trenton Lady Bulldogs squad now coached by former Southwest Livingston head coach Brian Upton, who works in Chillicothe. That will be part of what has been changed to a 5 p.m. junior-varsity girls and varsity girls and boys tripleheader.
“They’re going to be tough,” Parkey predicted regarding the Trenton girls, who earned the championship of the South Harrison Invitational Tournament Saturday night with a win over the hosts.
Had the struggling Lady Hornets – who had lost four times in a 6-day span – on Friday not been able to subdue a junior-varsity opponent – even one from a substantially-larger school, their self-confidence might have sustained a mortal blow. Instead, the win buys additional time to solve problems and still make a run at approaching a break-even season.
Getting quicker ball movement and more offensive assertiveness from usually-reticent players, the Lady Hornets got four field goals from four separate starters in the first 2:45 for an 8-0 lead.
“We were doing a real good job of moving the ball to the open person,” noted Parkey.
Statistically, Chillicothe’s junior “G” girls – Erin Gilliland and Maggie Graves – had matching 16-points nights. Graves unofficially also again approached or reached double figures in rebounds.
Graves scored 16 even though she only attempted an abnormally-low (for her) two free throws, both of which she made. She entered averaging right at 10 free-throw attempts a game.