(Update: The Lady Trojans rallied from 20 points down to upset No. 1 Mercer in the State Sectionals Tuesday night in Kirksville. They will play for a trip to the Final Four on Saturday, March 5 at 6 p.m. against Glasgow at Salisbury High School.)
Community R-VI head coach Bob Curtis knew his Lady Trojans had a target on the back of their jerseys entering this past week’s Class 1, District Tournament in Madison.
His squad was a two-time defending district champion and was the No. 1 seed.
Curtis’ team responded to the challenge with a lock-down defense to beat three teams by an average of 30 points to win a third straight district crown. Community R-VI also picked up its 22nd win, which surpasses the 20-win school record that was tied last year.
“This whole tournament, we have looked different defensively,” he said. “…Not only are we averaging 58 points per game, but we’re only giving up 33 to 34 points per game…We’re kind of really good on both sides of the spectrum…We followed our scouting report really well and played very hard on that end of the floor, which led to a lot of run-out lay-ups. Recently, the girls have just looked more focused in practice and are playing their best basketball at the right time of the season. The hard work has paid off as this group of Lady Trojans have put the time and effort in year-round to play at such a high level…I would like to take this time to thank our parents and players for their commitment to the basketball program as you have put in the extra hours, sweat, and hard work to make us successful. It is an exciting time to be a Trojan.”
The Lady Trojans opened their rematch of last year’s district finals against La Plata with a 10-0 run as Samm Jett scored six points.
Starter Chelsea Hoyt picked up her second foul just 1:14 into the game but it didn’t affect the Lady Trojans too much early on.
Community R-VI’s defense had four blocks in the first quarter and held La Plata to only 2-of-14 shooting from the field.
After La Plata closed the lead to eight points heading into the second quarter, the Lady Trojans’ defense forced the Lady Bulldogs to take several contested shots.
Meanwhile, Jett scored six points and Danielle Brooks added five points to give Community R-VI a 16-point halftime edge.
La Plata made just 5-of-27 shots from the field in the first half.
After both teams combined to shoot 21 free throw shots in the first half, the referees nearly broke their whistles in the second half.
The third quarter featured 15 more free throws, with the Lady Trojans making 5-of-7. Jett scored nine points in the third while Alissa Curtis added three free throws to push the lead to 46-29. Hoyt fouled out of the game early in the third.
La Plata managed to stop the clock with several trips to the free throw line late in the game but the lead was too much to overcome as they lost 58-37.
There were 54 free throw shots in the game with the Lady Trojans making 19-of-31 in the victory.
Jett finished with a game-high 23 points, four rebounds, four blocks, two assists, and two steals.
Brooks tallied 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and one block; Alissa Curtis had 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and one steal; Danie Jackson added three points and four rebounds; Rebecca Hagan had two points, five rebounds, two blocks, and two assists; both Mikyla Wagner and Hoyt had one point and one rebound; Ivy Stathem had one steal; and Delanie Windmann had one rebound.
“These two (Jett and Brooks) have had excellent careers and to have that kind of performance in their final district game was special,” Bob Curtis said. “(Alissa) was a difference maker on the defensive side of the floor. Her help defense was fantastic.”
Semifinals win over
The Lady Trojans broke their school record for wins in the semifinals after blowing out North Shelby, 70-31.
Eight different Lady Trojans scored in the balanced scoring attack.
“I thought our defense was what fueled our offense as we got multiple turnovers that we turn into lay-ups,” Bob Curtis said. “We got them to change their tempo and play quicker which most nights they like to run offense in the half-court and get the ball inside to their post players.”
The Lady Trojans jumped out to a 24-7 first quarter lead and pushed their advantage to 18 points at halftime.
Community R-VI outscored the Lady Raiders 31-14 in the second half to cruise to the win.
Jett nailed four 3-pointers to finish with 30 points. She also had nine rebounds, six steals, two assists, and one block.
Alissa Curtis added 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal; Brooks tallied nine points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block; Wagner had five points, two rebounds, and one assist; Tayler Cope added three points, two rebounds, and two assists; Hagan had three points, one assists, and one steal; Lexus LaGesse added three points, one assist, and one steal; Jackson tallied two points, two rebounds, and one steal; Taren Clark had one rebound, one assist, and one steal; Stathem added one rebound and one steal; Maddee Gastler had one assist; and Hoyt tallied one block, one steal, and one assist.
The Lady Trojans led Wellsville-Middletown 41-13 at halftime in the first round of districts before cruising to an easy 58-29 win.
“I thought we ran the floor well and got easy transition baskets in the first 16 minutes,” Bob Curtis said. “The press was good forcing turnovers and speeding up the pace of play.”
Jett scored 19 points, six rebounds, three steals, two blocks, and two assists while Alissa Curtis tallied 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and three blocks.
Brooks finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block; Hoyt had six points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block; Jackson added four points, four rebounds, three steals, one block, and one assist; Windmann added four points, four rebounds, three steals, one block, and one assist; Wagner knocked in two points; Gastler had two rebounds; Hagan had two rebounds and one steal; while both Cope and LaGesse had one rebound.
(The Lady Trojans played their sectional round game against Mercer, the No. 1 team in Class 1, at Kirksville on Tuesday night just after our press deadline.)