Cage Lady Hornets entice, then evaporate in latest loss

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
For a second, a fleeting moment, the Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets last night sparked against-expectations hope they might accomplish something no Lady Hornets hoops team has done in 10 years – defeat St. Joseph: Benton.
In the end, though, it was not to be, as attested by a final score of 56-26.
Having fallen behind by eight points while scoring but one field goal in the first 51⁄2 minutes of their Midland Empire Conference home clash with the Lady Cardinals, the Lady Hornets (9-11, 0-3 MEC) suddenly took over.
Stunningly blanking Benton (14-5, 3-0) for more than four minutes to begin the second quarter, the CHS girls erased a 17-9 deficit after one stanza with eight unanswered tallies of their own, tying the game at the mid-point of the second frame on Maggie Graves' basket.
As the first half entered its last half-minute, the decided-underdog Lady Hornets trailed Benton, a perennial MEC power the past decade under demanding head coach Brett Goodwin, by a mere three points.
Incredulously, though, Benton's next basket – a Kenzie Musser runner in the lane 25 seconds before halftime – not only expanded the small BHS lead, it would push them to a points total Chillicothe would not reach this night.
From the time the Lady Hornets' Mackenzie Barnett fired in a 17-footer from the left side off Samantha McKiddy's pass with 52 seconds remaining in the first half, Chillicothe would make one field goal and four points – one of which came an instant before the final buzzer – in the remaining 16-plus minutes as the up-for-grabs game morphed into a blowout.
“It's amazing what happens when you get tired. The mental capacity, the mental toughness kind of slides downhill a little bit,” CHS head coach Rachael Parkey, who essentially has only seven players to use at present which senior reserve guard Cyrsten Lollar continues her recovery from a reported recent concussion, said in accounting for the game's stark turn. Goodwin meanwhile regularly rotated eight players into and out of his lineup, all of them fully capable of contributing offensively or defensively.
Chillicothe will have a chance to snap its 2-games losing streak and notch its first MEC win of the season next Tuesday when it visits Maryville, a team it defeated by 19 points on a neutral court to begin the season.
“I'm sure that they've gotten better as the season has gone along, but we have a real good idea of what they're going to do (strategically),” Parkey said in her post-game broadcast interview last night, “… and I've got a good game plan on what we're going to do to be good and ready for them.”