Follow Us On:

Lady Champs settle for 2nd in 9-AA tourney

Posted on Friday, February 16, 2024 at 11:11 am

Post Photo by Chris Siers The Cascade Lady Champions pose with their runner-up plaque after finishing second in the District 9-AA tournament.

Post Photo by Chris Siers Lady Champ senior Hailey Giel drives the paint against the Cannon County defense.

BELL BUCKLE — All season long, the District 9-AA field chased top-ranked Cannon County, and that continued through the district tournament.
While Cascade (12-15) battled and certainly made it anything but easy for the Lionettes (23-5), Cascade wasn’t able to generate enough offense against a stout zone defense and settled for second in the 9-AA tournament following Thursday’s 52-36 loss.
“When you compare the last two games we had against them, I see growth. They are a very good team. They are a top-10 team in the state. We couldn’t defend against their penetration and we couldn’t box out against their two big girls. That’s something we’re having to continue to work around,” Lady Champion coach Janie Demonbreum said.
Offense was a on a premium, notably in the first quarter, as Cannon County held Cascade to just four points, including one made 3-pointer by Kaydence Miller from the top of the key at the 5:17 mark.
Offense wasn’t clicking particularly well for Cannon County through the remainder of the quarter, with the Lionettes making just two more baskets to lead 12-4 at the end of the first.
It was a 6-0 run by Cannon County to start the second that looked to be the difference, but the pesky Lady Champions refused to go quietly and responded with a 6-0 run of their own to cut the lead to single digits.
In fact, Cascade cut it to eight points two more times in the quarter before a 3-pointer at the 1:04 mark ended a string of baskets by Cascade’s Sophie Ray.
Trailing 27-16 with a minute left, it was Kaegan Young who scored a basket to once again cut the lead to single digits at the half.
But like the second quarter, a 7-0 run to start the second half created a 14-point lead that Cannon County was able to preserve through the remainder of regulation.
The one-two punch of Cannon County’s Abbilyn Teter and Jenna Bush was more than Cascade could overcome, as the two Lionettes combined for 29 points.
Cascade wasn’t without its heavy hitters, though.
While undersized against the towering low posts of Cannon County, Ray was an absolute warrior for the Lady Champions, standing her own against the Lionettes’ size advantage.
Ray scored seven of her team-best 14 points in the fourth quarter, which included a 3-pointer to cut the Lionette lead to 12 with just over six minutes to play.
“Every single night, she (Ray) is a warrior. I couldn’t ask for a scrappier player than her,” Demonbreum said.
Even trailing late, Cascade had a chance to make things interesting in the final three minutes by working its way to the line, but the Lady Champs made good on just 4-of-10 free throw attempts, while Cannon County closed with a perfect 6-of-6 effort in the fourth.
While Thursday night’s game didn’t result in a District 9-AA championship, Cascade is very much alive in the postseason and will get to host the first round of the Region 5-AA tournament and will host the No. 3 seed from District 10-AA next Friday.
“We’re going to get there. It’s just a matter of time with these girls. I’m so proud of their fight, perseverance and their will to be better than they were the day before,” Demonbreum.
While a lengthy layover may be a negative for some, Demonbreum sees it as a chance to get some added rest for the Lady Champs.
“I see it as a positive in the aspect, we’ll still have practice tomorrow and have a day off on Monday. A week off won’t be bad for us,” she said.

Cascade 4 14 7 11 — 36
Cannon Co. 12 15 11 14 — 52

Cascade: Sophie Ray 14, Kaegan Young 8, Suzanna Crews 6, Kaydence Miller 6, Laina Carter 2.
Cannon Co.: Abbilyn Teter 15 Jenna Bush 14, Abi Alexander 9, Norah Walkup 8, Addie King 6.
3-Point goals: Cascade (4): Miller 2, Ray, Crews; Cannon Co. (2): Alexander, Teter.
Halftime score: Cannon Co. 27, Cascade 18.