It was a special match-up for the Community R-VI Lady Trojans basketball team when they played Herculaneum this past Sunday morning at 2 a.m. That is not a typo.
The game was played in the wee hours of the morning as part of the Norm Stewart Classic, which was televised on ESPN 3. The No. 7 state-ranked Lady Trojans had a unique stage and early morning setting in which to play a Herculaneum team that won more than 25 games in the St. Louis area for Class 3 last year.
In spite of Herculaneum entering the game with a 2-1 record as their lone loss was to Jennings, Community R-VI’s depth was just too much for the larger school.
They jumped out to a 19-3 first quarter lead before entering halftime up 39-7.
“Defensively, we executed our game plan against their spread offense,” said Community R-VI head coach Bob Curtis. “We managed to get the tempo to our liking, getting 28 shots up in the first and playing very fast in transition. Holding this caliber team to two field goals and just seven points in a half was a special Norm Stewart Classic game for us. It is fun to play well in this event in the early morning at an odd hour when you typically wouldn’t play.”
Natalie Thomas was the game MVP as she received the Gary Filter Medal after scoring 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four steals, and one block. Dalaney Bowers added 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and one assist; Brianna Beamer had 10 points, three assets, and two rebounds; Deann Brooks tallied eight points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal; Sadie Hoyt had six points, two rebounds, and one assist; Morgan Bryant scored three points; Emma Hombs and Emma Angel each had two points; and Delanie Windmann had one point.
Curtis went on to talk about the event as told to the players by University of Missouri legendary basketball coach Norm Stewart.
“Norm has told the players in this event the story of his favorite time as a player and coach was when he was a boy growing up in Shelbyville, Mo., sneaking into the school there through the coal shoot to play basketball in the gymnasium with his friends in the wee hours of the morning,” he shared. “He felt like a rebel and said it was some of the most fun he has had in his life regarding hoops. This is where the idea of 48 hours of basketball stems from as it does not occur anywhere else in the U.S. What a great opportunity to stay in Columbia overnight and have some team bonding time and plays some ball. Games are streamed on ESPN 3. We are blessed to be invited.”
Before taking on Herculaneum, the Lady Trojans avenged a loss in 2017 to Prairie Home, 65-12. The Lady Trojans jumped out to a 25-1 first quarter edge. Their defense held Prairie Home to five points or less in all four quarters. They actually led 41-3 at halftime.
“Our depth was a major factor in this game as we had 12 different girls score,” Curtis said. “We can rotate fresh players and keep the pace frantic, which is really a fun style of play. The girls are having a lot of fun playing as hard as they possibly can for four or five minutes knowing they do not have to manage their efforts to stay in for 32 minutes. We shared the ball extremely well scoring from everywhere on the floor with 12 people getting in the book.”
Thomas scored 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists; Brooks added 12 points and three steals; Beamer had six points; Alexis Welch scored six points; Bowers, Kaley Diesel, and Windmann each had four points; Hoyt scored three points; while Lauryn Robnett, Emmi Johnson, Shelby Clark, and Hombs each had two points.