Miller Lady Cardinals dominate in Diamond; wins Gem City Classic/ Miller boys take 7th in Marionville tourney

Skylan Akins

The Miller Lady Cardinals celebrate with the Gem City Classic championship trophy. In the front row, from left, are manager Hailey Martin, Kaylee Thom, Alexis Bailey, Marissa Laxton, Lainee Weiss, Camden Stockton; in the back row are assistant coach Derek Hill, Hailey Mart, Rose Hill, Loghann Leivan, Ashlynn Helton, Haylie Schnake, Rachel Nunez, Mavire Pritchett, Kendall Neely, assistant coach Kaylee Helton, and head coach Ryan White. (Photo by Skylan Akins)

The Lady Cardinals opened the 2022-23 season in a very successful way, starting with a  47-11 win over Sarcoxie in the opening round of the Gem City Classic. They followed that up win a 37-26 over the No. 5 team in Class 2, College Heights. They wrapped up the week defeating host school Diamond on Saturday.
Diamond got on the board first with a second chance bucket from Makaylynn Lafferty, but the 2-0 lead didn’t last long as freshman Ashlynn Helton responded quickly with a three on the other side. Both defenses forced turnovers at a high clip throughout the opening quarter, but a highlight reel caliber pass and bucket from Hailey Mart to Rachel Nunez opened an 8-4 Miller lead with 2:30 remaining in the opening period. The experience of Diamond started paying dividends late in the quarter as intensity on the defensive led to a pair of turnovers that led to a 4-0 run with just over a minute left in the opening period. Both teams had an opportunity to score one last bucket before the buzzer but both failed and Miller took the opening quarter 10-9.
Points came fast and furious to begin the half as the teams traded buckets including six quick points from freshman Loghann Leivan, but the defenses settled in. Leivan and Mart each got buckets to go before a late turnaround three from Helton extended the lead to 34-26 after three quarters.
Miller was the aggressors to begin the fourth and was able to get Diamond bigs Makaylynn Lafferty and Kabrie Parmley to foul out in the first couple minutes of the quarter. Miller was able to push the lead to 38-26 with 4:30 remaining in the game. After a Frazier bucket, Miller went into their close out offense and started melting a little bit of clock. Frazier took advantage of that and got a pair of buckets to fall to cut a once 14 point lead down to 39-30 with 2:10 left in the game. Frazier was able to get a few more buckets to fall in desperation time but Miller was able to hit enough free throws to secure the 44-34 win for the tournament championship.
“I am super proud of these girls. We are playing three games in and we are playing some really good teams and we are competing,” head coach Ryan White said following the game.
On top of the championship title, three Lady Cardinals received All-Tournament honors. Senior Rose Hill and freshman Ashlynn Helton were named to the All-Tournament team and freshman Loghann Leivan was named tournament MVP.
The Lady Cardinals move to a perfect 3-0 to begin the year with a pair of very tough match-ups at Fair Grove on Tuesday, and Class 5 Webb City, Thursday.
Miller Scoring vs. Diamond: Loghann Leivan 15, Ashlynn Helton 12, Rachel Nunez 6, Hailey Mart 6, Rose Hill 4, Kaylee Thom 1.
Miller boys take 7th in Marionville tourney
The Miller Cardinals opened their season with a seventh place finish in the Marionville Tournament after defeating Wheaton in dramatic fashion Saturday, 48-47.
The Cardinals opened the season against top seeded Greenwood where the length and athleticism of the Bluejays were too much, as Miller fell 61-28. The loss set up a consolation semifinal game against Stockton. Despite a valiant effort, the Cardinals fell late, 59-49. Saturday, the Cardinals took on Wheaton where a three by Miller freshman Owen Weiss in the final moments secured a 48-47 win.
The Cardinals move to 1-2 in this young season. They will have a busy week as they traveled to College Heights on Monday, before returning home against Marion C. Early Tuesday. They will conclude the week Friday at Verona.


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