Lady Cardinals claim fourth straight district championship

Skylan Akins

Success for the Lady Cardinals is nothing new. They haven’t seen a losing season on the basketball court since 2014, and haven’t even seen 10 losses in a season since 2017. They have won three straight district championships and they made it four straight Saturday with a 57-28 win over College Heights.
The Lady Cardinals earned the top seed in their district for the fourth straight season following a 21-3 regular season that saw them knock off 15 teams Class 3 or bigger.
Miller opened district play against fourth seeded Wheaton and saw little to no resistance as Miller’s Big Red Machine downed the Lady Bulldogs 61-18. Next up was the two seed College Heights Lady Cougars, fresh off of a 52-47 win over Marionville. Miller opened up the flood gates quickly as senior Payten Richardson scored the first five points of the game. The stout 2-3 zone of Miller wreaked havoc as turnovers led to points as Miller jumped out to a 38-17 lead at the half. That defense picked up as they only allowed 11 points in the final two quarters and Miller coasted to a 57-28 win in a game where the three seniors didn’t have to play in the final quarter.
The Lady Cardinals move to 23-3 for the year and advanced to the sectional round Wednesday against a team Miller fell to earlier in the season— Blue Eye, 31-27. That rematch will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Carthage.
Cardinals season ends at hands of Cougars
The Miller Cardinals entered districts at the four seed and defeated the Purdy Eagles, 34-27, in the opening round of districts last Saturday. However, that would be the last time the Cardinals would taste victory for this season as a 31-21 loss to College Heights ended the Cardinals 2021-22 campaign.
Following the win over Purdy, Coach Sean Price put together a near perfect game plan against the heavily favored Cougars. They were methodical on the offensive side of the court and didn’t force any bad shots and was tough on the defensive side. However, the game resembled a scene from the 1986 film “Hoosiers,” as Coach Price seemingly instituted coach Norman Dale’s ‘10 passes before a shot’ philosophy. Miller held a 6-4 lead after the opening quarter. The Alex Pennington three on the first possession of the game was Miller’s lone field goal of the first half as a single Cougar free throw was the scoring in the second quarter. Miller led 6-5 at the half. Yes, you read that right.
The third quarter belonged to the Cougars as they were able to heat up beyond the arc with three deep balls to take a 14-8 lead into the fourth. Miller was forced out of their game control strategy in the fourth quarter and College Heights took full advantage as they dominated the Cardinals in the final quarter besting Miller, 31-21.
“You could tell tonight that it really meant something. They were playing for each other, and they didn’t want their season to be over. … I’m proud of them,” Coach Sean Price said following the loss.
The Cardinals end their season 8-19. Three seniors Kaleb Groesbeck, Logan Nield, and Brenden Thom also saw their high school basketball career come to an end. They finished their career 57-53 and brought Miller basketball their first district title since 2011.


Lawrence County Record

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