Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Basketball Lady Hornets Stroll in 2021-22 Opener

Several near-school-record performances dot 72-11 home win over Hamilton Tuesday (Nov. 23)

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Sophomore guard Delanie Kieffer completes a nifty slashing drive from right of the key with a scoop layup a second before the third-quarter horn sounds, giving the Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets a 68-6 lead over Hamilton: Penney in both teams' 2021-22 season opener in Chillicothe Tuesday, Nov. 23. CHS won, 72-11.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

A mere eight seconds into their 2021-22 basketball season and home opener against the Hamilton: Penney Lady Hornets, the game’s die was cast by Chillicothe High School’s Lady Hornets.

Controlling the game’s opening tipoff, CHS senior point guard Lucy Reeter dribbled the ball into the front court and made the season’s first pass to junior guard Jessica Reeter, who quickly fired and sank the season’s first basket – a trey from the right wing – that commenced the expected romp, which finished as a 72-11 CHS triumph.

The margin of victory matches the fourth-largest in Chillicothe Lady Hornets’ history and equals the widest spread since 1982. Only a 5-points spurt by the visitors in the 45 seconds of the last quarter, boosting the PHS count to 11 for the game, prevented Chillicothe from holding an opponent to single digits for the first time since girls’ basketball was resumed as a CHS sport in 1974.

To reach 72 points, the home team pumped in a dozen 3-pointers, led by J. Reeter’s seven. Both of those numbers are one shy of the program’s most ever. J. Reeter hit eight treys in a home win over Lathrop last season and the 2015-16 squad knocked down a baker’s dozen 3-balls in a Kearney Invitational Tournament win over Independence: Fort Osage.

“We shoot it pretty well from (3-points range), so that’s our first look – automatic, but we’re looking to get (low-) post touches (also),” Darren Smith, Chillicothe head coach, remarked in a post-game broadcast interview. “… We just happened to making a lot of shots.”

After scoring the contest’s first 13 points, CHS answered a pair of Hamilton free throws with just over 1-1/2 minutes left in the first stanza with the next 51 points in a row over the next 16 minutes of play.

Finally, with 1:22 to go in the third frame, Penney junior Mary Walker quick-triggered a shot from outside the arc on the right side than connected for her team’s first field goal of the contest. A basket and a three-points play by PHS junior Anista Houghton near the beginning of the fourth quarter boosted the visitors into twin digits, but they would not score again.

Junior guard Jessica Reeter of the Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets prepares to fire in her third of seven 3-points baskets a half-minute into the second quarter of CHS' 72-11 2021-22 season-starting home victory over Hamilton: Penney Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Statistically, J. Reeter’s 25 points led all scorers with two senior teammates – L. Reeter and sixth girl Ellie Barnett joining her in dual figures with 10 each. For Barnett, it was the first time in her varsity career she’d reached at least 10.

“Ellie Barnett played really well,” praised Smith. “She was right there (contending for the fifth starting spot which went to Pithan against Hamilton).”

All 11 CHS players used except for starting junior post player Bre Pithan got in the scoring column. In addition, 10 had at least one rebound and eight earned at least one assist.

Led by J. Reeter’s four, four Chillicothe players – starters Essie Hicks and Jolie Bonderer and sub Izzie Montgomery – had three or more assists. Bonderer was CHS’ top rebounder, unofficially, with six.

“They all did what they could do, and did it well,” summarized the Chillicothe head coach.

Houghton’s fourth-stanza tallies made her Hamilton’s leading scorer.

Because of the nearly-immediate blowout nature of the game, Smith estimated his starters played around 12 minutes at most, which might leave them vulnerable to fatigue come the next game against a challenging opponent.

“This early in the season, I really need to get more minutes (played) for my starters, because we’ve got to get in ‘game shape,’” Smith remarked. “We can do a lot of running in practice, but ‘game shape’s’ different. So, we didn’t get enough minutes (for the main rotation).

“We’ve play Maryville on Tuesday of next week and we’re going to need to be in better shape that what we are right now – and we’ve got a 2- or 3-days layoff (over Thanksgiving) and that’s not going to help.”

Chillicothe’s next girls’ action will be next Tuesday (Nov. 30) in the first round of the Savannah Invitational Tournament. After the CHS boys make their 2021-22 season debut against Platte County at 5:30 p.m., the Lady Hornets will oppose Maryville at 7.

“I think they’re going to be a good team. We saw ‘em this summer and they were strong. They were tough. It’ll be a typlcal MEC game where every possession’s important and it’s going to come down to defending.”