Miller girls topple Mansfield in basketball season opener at home

Skylan Akins

Senior Kaylee Helton drills a three ball in the home opener against Mansfield. She finished with 16 points in the highly anticipated opener.

The Miller Lady Cardinal basketball team defeated Mansfield in their season opener, 39-31, in a hard-fought battle Monday night. Miller coach Sean Price talked about how this year's Lady Cardinal team was going to be a new look, and boy was he right.

The first quarter was slow to start as neither team managed to score until Lauren Jones hit a three about four minutes into the game. Claudia Hadlock broke the goose egg on the Miller scoreboard with a three of her own. The following possession Hadlock found Kaylee Helton on a back cut to give Miller the lead. Helton and Jones both hit a threes in the final minute of the quarter, but it was Miller that led 9-7.
The second quarter was just as brutal on the offensive side, as the defense of both teams were very tough. Lauren Jones’ twin sister Logan Jones opened the quarter with a three of her own. Miller’s Alyssa Hill led the Lady Cardinals with five points in the second quarter. Each team only mustered nine points in the second quarter to go into halftime 18-16.
Coming out of half the Lady Cardinals shifted their defense into a rare man-to-man defense and saw immediate success.
“We have our zone that we are really good at and tonight we switched to man that we have been working on in practice and over the summer, and I think it really shocked some people and really threw Mansfield off,” Hadlock said.
 A pair of Logan Jones threes and a free throw was all that Mansfield could manage as the switch to man decimated the Lady Lions attack. However, shots completely stopped falling for Miller, as Helton hit her second three of the game and hit a layup late in the quarter and that was all of the scoring for the Lady Cardinals. The teams would go into the final quarter deadlocked at 23.
The Lady Cardinals finally came out hot in the fourth quarter as a Hadlock bucket and five quick points from Miller’s Payten Richardson had the Lady Cardinals on a 7-0 run to start the quarter. Macie Tate of Mansfield didn’t let things get too out of hand as a quick pair of threes brought them back within just a couple points. However, a huge three from Miller junior Haylie Schnake and free throws by Helton down the stretch gave the Lady Cardinals the 39-31 victory.

“First off Mansfield is a great team. They have some size and have some girls that can shoot the basketball. Its going to be a process for us. We are not as good now as we will be by the end of the year and that’s okay. We just need to keep getting better every day,” Coach Price said after the game. “We won because of our defense. We switched to man in the middle of the game, and I think that is what won us the night.”

Helton led the Lady Cardinals with 16, while Claudia Hadlock added 8, and Payten Richardson chipped in 7. Alyssa Hill saw a pair of buckets and 5 points fall. Haylie Schnake hit the big three in the fourth for her lone points of the game.

The Lady Cardinals are 1-0 and will be back in action Thursday as they take on Webb City at home.


Lawrence County Record

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