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Basketball Lady Hornets’ offense falters again in first loss

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

SAVANNAH — Three quarters of decent to good offensive basketball easily was enough for the Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets to post a decisive victory over Hamilton: Penney in their season opener last week. Against a much-better Smithville Lady Warriors club Monday, three good quarters only meant a 46-36 loss.

Able to stay tied or either slightly ahead or behind through the first three quarters of their opening-round game in the 46th-annual Savannah Invitational Tournament, the Lady Hornets managed only one basket and one free throw across 8:50 of the final 8:55 to go from a 31-31 deadlock to the 10-points defeat.

Even as late as the midway point of the fourth quarter, Chillicothe (1-1) was within four points at 37-33, but it was outscored 9-1 over the next five minutes.

The loss pushes the Lady Hornets into the tournament’s consolation semifinals, in which it will face Platte County at 5:30 p.m. today. Platte County was drilled by St. Joseph: Benton 56-23 Monday, as well. The CHS girls then will play for either seventh place or consolation Friday at either 4 or 5:30 p.m.

Through the first three quarters of Monday’s contest, the Lady Hornets defended well and scored with enough consistency to keep no more than a 4-points spread.

Along the way, they led by a single marker three times – at 8-7 on Brooke Horton’s putback of her own miss at 2:42 of the opening frame, at 23-22 on Selby Miller’s 14-feet runner from just inside the foul line 52 seconds before halftime, and 25-24 when Jessica Reeter’s pull-up shot from seven feet after driving toward the rim from the left wing began the second-half scoring.

Having trailed 15-11 after one quarter and 24-23 at halftime, CHS stood dead even with the taller, offensively-deeper, experienced Lady Warriors 55 seconds shy of the end of the third stanza after Lucy Reeter’s spin move allowed her to drive the right edge of the paint for a layup that knotted the score at 31-all.

However, beginning with a high-arching tiebreaker from the left low post with 25 ticks remaining on the third-quarter clock, Smithville (1-0) produced a 6-0 mini-run that foretold how the final quarter would play out. After CHS’ Essie Hicks drove from the left corner to hit a pullup jumper from nine feet out at the 5:35 mark of the fourth, the Lady Warriors surged again, this time with seven points in a row in a span of 2:05. That gave them an 11-points lead which, with Chillicothe mired in an extended field-goal drought, sealed the outcome.

Statistically, Jessice Reeter unofficially led Chillicothe’s scoring with 11 points, one more than Hicks finished with. Smithville’s Allie Andrews shared game scoring honors with J. Reeter with 11 points. Like Hicks, Emma Chevalier was right behind her teammate with 10, but SHS prospered, in part, because McKenzie Robinson and Kenzie Moes each tossed in an additional eight each.

The Lady Warriors also had a 7-3 advantage in 3-points baskets.