Lady Cardinals join elite company capturing fifth straight district title

Skylan Akins

The Lady Cardinals hold up fives after securing their fifth consecutive district championship. Left to right front row: Camden Stockton, Alexis Bailey, Kaylee Thom, Lainee Weiss, Marissa Laxton; back row: coach Ryan White, coach Derek Hill, Hailey Mart, Alyssa Hill, Rachel Nunez, Loghann Leivan, Ashlynn Helton, Haylie Schnake, Mavrie Pritchett, Kendall Neely and coach Kaylee Helton.

There was plenty of doubt if the Miller Lady Cardinals were going to be able to defend their four district titles in a row, after losing a tremendous senior class that had won over 100 games in their four years. They had answered all season long sitting at No. 4 in the state rankings for the majority of the season and won the SWC for the fifth year in a row. Saturday afternoon, they captured their fifth straight district championship after downing a familiar foe 59-35.
All that stood in their way was a Marion C. Early team that has also been in the state rankings for most of the year. The two teams have already met twice this season with Miller taking both matchups. The first meeting came in the third place game of the Walnut Grove tournament where MCE led for most of the game, but Miller rallied late for a 35-29 defensive slugfest. The second meeting in the Stockton tournament semis had the same result, but a much different path as Miller cruised to a 51-20 win.
The third meeting had similar results.
Miller came out quick, and thanks to a sluggish start from MCE, the Lady Cardinals took a 19-5 lead into the second quarter, and 32-20 at half.
The Lady Cardinals brought back the press to open the third quarter. A 10-2 run to open the half all but sealed it for Miller as the lead would stay around 20 points for the remainder of the game. Miller would make it five straight with a win over the Lady Panthers.
“This is astronomical," Miller head coach Ryan White said. "I talked with coach (Derek) Hill about having to look at the Strafford’s and Walnut Grove’s of the world and now my job is about to be like that, winning five in a row. We want to be that dominant and become a force like that in Class 2, and getting this today is just special for me and just being able to step in with this group has been awesome. These girls deserve all of the credit.”
“It is really exciting,” Miller senior Alyssa Hill said. “Being able to come out and win just like all of the groups did before us is really cool. This is huge for the Miller basketball program and we keep telling people that we are going to be successful. I hope that we are drilling it in with our freshmen so this streak continues.”
Miller will continue their run in the playoffs Tuesday in Harrisonville, against Archie.


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