Defense, Perfect Foul Shooting Late Lead Chillicothe High Basketball Lady Hornets to Third Win
CHS blanks Lady Savages for nearly 10 minutes in second half, outscores them 15-5 in last 13:20 to prevail 40-32 Friday
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
SAVANNAH, Mo. — Enough is enough, Chillicothe High School’s basketball Lady Hornets said after the host Lady Savages swished their first three 3-points shots inside the first two minutes of Friday’s (Dec. 4, 2020) Savannah Invitational Tournament consolation game.
Behind 9-2 after the quick SHS downpour from downtown, Chillicothe squared away its perimeter defense and by the time Savannah hit another shot outside the arc, the Lady Hornets had taken a 5-points lead in the second quarter en route to an eventual 40-32 triumph.
Even though the Lady Savages continued to find the range from long range on occasion, keeping them right in the game through the middle of the third quarter, they were spaced out enough to minimize their impact.
After SHS’ seventh trifecta with 4:55 to go in the third stanza gave it a 27-25 lead, Chillicothe wrenched closed the Lady Savages’ scoring line, yet it didn’t take much advantage of its defensive prowess.
Blanked from then until only 3:10 remained, Savannah saw its 2-points lead devalue into only a 5-points deficit. Thus, with Chillicothe already having gone to its “layup” game, when Calli Keller finally cashed in three SHS offensive rebounds with a bullseye from beyond the arc on the left wing, the home team was behind only 32-30 with lots of time remaining.
However, with Savannah’s guards seemingly fatigued, the Lady Hornets stubbornly stayed in their time-killing offense and it worked out for them.
Running off many valuable seconds on two possessions, they eventually drew two fouls near the basket on Essie Hicks drives and she buried all four attempts – first in the bonus and then on a 2-shots foul. That made it a 6-points lead for Chillicothe with 1:03 to go.
After a driving deuce made it 36-32 with 50 seconds to go, Savannah quickly fouled in the backcourt, but Lucy Reeter sank both shots to again make the margin six. Following a missed Savannah shot, Jessica Reeter rebounded, was fouled, and also netted both charity tosses with 27 seconds remaining to create the final score.
Prior to making its last eight tries, Chillicothe had been only two of four from the stripe in the game.
All of the first-half scoring effectively came in three 1-sided spurts – Savannah opening with an 11-4 push in the first 3-1/2 minutes, Chillicothe ringing up seven in a row to tie it as part of a longer 17-4 run, and the home team closing the second stanza with six unanswered points the last 2:45.
The upshot of those swings of offensive output was the squads reached intermission knotted at 21 apiece, a score which perfectly suited the game’s overall action through 16 minutes.
Amazingly, unofficial statistics kept by the C-T showed not only were the two sides deadlocked on the scoreboard after one half, but they also owned matching total rebounds (15), assists (five), and turnovers (six) totals, as well. The only statistical differences were the Lady Hornets being two of two, compared to Savannah’s zero of two, at the free-throw line and the Lady Savages having secured four offensive rebounds to Chillicothe’s one.
When the last half began, the teams alternated scoring twice each through the first 3:05 with CHS going first. However, because the hosts’ baskets were treys and Chillicothe’s deuces, Savannah had the aforementioned 27-25 lead when its offense withered under strong Lady Hornets defensive pressure.
The ensuing 9:45 scoring drought for SHS allowed J. Reeter’s right-of-the-key “3” at the 4:43 mark of the third stanza to give her team the lead for good.
That turned out to be the last scoring of that quarter, but Selby Miller’s steal and fast-break setup of Hicks for a layup a half-minute into the fourth and Miller’s second-straight steal and own finish not quite a minute later extended Chillicothe’s slow-motion mini-run to seven consecutive points and made its lead five.
Even though Miller’s driving deuce with 6:36 remaining became the Lady Hornets’ last field goal, their 8-of-8 free-throw work in the last 1:42 put them over the finish line in front.
Statistically for the game, Hicks’ 16 points led everyone with teammate J. Reeter close behind with 14. Savannah had 10 from top threat Lexi Jones, but only three after the opening quarter.
Chillicothe’s girls – and boys – are idle now until being scheduled to have their home opener Friday, Dec. 11, against Trenton. That doubleheader will begin with the girls’ action at 6 p.m.