Massac County's lady Patriots opened the 2019-20 campaign with wins over Herrin and Marion last week at the Lady Wildcat Tip-off Classic.
A veteran Hamilton County team that made it to the 2A Sectional semi-finals before falling to Belleville Althoff was Massac's third opponent of the week-long event. Hamilton County and Massac traded punches like a pair of prize fighters with Hamilton coming out on top 40-36.
Massac was on HamCo like "stink on a monkey", to borrow a Cosmo Kramer phrase, for most of the first half. After taking a 14-12 first quarter lead, the girls unleashed on HamCo with a 10-2 second quarter. That 10 point halftime lead evaporated though as the Foxes returned the favor in the third frame.
The lady Foxes outscored Massac 16-5 in the third to take a one point lead into the final eight minutes. A 10-7 final frame for HamCo left the score at 40-36 and Massac had their first loss of the season.
In their final game of the Marion tourney, the girls had their hands full with Vienna, especially 6'3" Addison Bent, until the final quarter began. First year coach Justin Kindle told his kids, "Play the fourth quarter like it's 0-0!" They did and soon it was 20-3 as the girls wore out the Lady Eagles. Massac's depth and fresher legs proved the difference.
"We wanted to get them to play up and down", said Kindle. "We thought they might be gassed from playing three nights in a row." One more point about Massac's win. They got balanced scoring and therein lies the key to this team.
Nine girls made the scoring column, led by Castleman's 22 points. Cam McBride, Kendra Waldon and Cali McCraw all reached double figures. Bent finished with 15 points for Vienna and 10 rebounds, just missing a "triple-double" by one blocked shot as she recorded 9 rejections.