Cauble’s record-setting performance lifts Oran girls basketball past Puxico, to tourney title again
CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The outstanding freshman season we saw from Oran's Leah Cauble a year ago was only the tip of the iceberg. Now the waters are receding and the true nature of the structure underneath is becoming clear. And right now she's making opponents look like the Titanic.
On Saturday, Cauble continued her blazing start to her sophomore campaign as she helped the top-seeded Eagles lift the championship trophy at the Lady Devil Invitational Tournament for a second straight season with an 85-41 win over No. 2 Puxico at Chaffee High School.
After winning the tournament title for the first time ever a year ago, Oran (5-0) became the first team since Scott City in 2009-10 to take back-to-back championships in the event.
In the process, Cauble rewrote the tournament's record books.
In a semifinal win over the host Red Devils, Cauble out-scored her opponent single-handedly while putting up 48 points and breaking Rebecca Below's (Delta) 14-year-old record for points in a tournament game.
The mark is believed to also be a single-game Oran record, not just for the girls but also in the history of the boys' program.
That same game also saw Cauble's 19 field goals break a tournament single-game mark, previously held by Tonia Harris (Scott County Central; Dec. 6, 1989) and Below (Dec. 9, 2002).
In the finale, Cauble scored 39 points and took down two more records, as her 49 field goals in the three-game tournament surpassed Harris' 40 -- a mark that had stood for 27 years -- and her 126 points in the tournament smashed an even older mark of 93, set by Delta's Mary Glaus in 1980 and Scott County's Tangela Turner in 1985.
"Some of those records have been around for a while, from those old Scott County teams that were really good in the '80s and early '90s, you know," Oran coach Ethan Evans said. "It's nice to have all her hard work pay off, and to be able to see that in the record books is awesome.
"Her semifinal performance she really came out and fed off the opposing crowd. That's one thing she does -- she just loves competition and people in her face. She responds very well to that. She did. She shot the ball extremely well the whole tournament. When she gets going and we can get some other people involved as well, shooting is contagious. ... She did, she had an unbelievable tournament."
The sophomore guard is now averaging 42 points per game.
In addition to her offensive output, Cauble added seven assists and nine steals against Puxico (7-2) in the championship, as the Eagles made sure the Indians never had a chance.
"[The records] mean a lot to me," Cauble said. "But if I score 40 or zero, I just want to win the game."
There was little question about that Saturday, as Oran jumped out to a 14-0 lead to open the contest and cruised the rest of the way.
Puxico finished the opening quarter with enough juice to cut the lead to 19-8 after 8 minutes, but the Eagles made sure there was little question about who was in control, as they began the second quarter on an 11-0 swing that saw lone senior Brianna Stause heat up from beyond the arc to help push the advantage to 30-8 with 6:13 left in the second quarter.
Stause was 0 of 5 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but went 4 of 6 from outside the arc in the second period. She finished with 14 point and four assists.
Oran finished with 19 assists on 32 field goals.
But it was the Eagles' high-energy press out of a 1-3-1 zone -- a new, more aggressive scheme installed in the offseason -- that flummoxed Puxico.
The Indians suffered 39 turnovers in the game.
"You create turnovers, you get easy baskets," Evans said. "You get easy baskets and everything else just falls into place for you. The other team is turning it over and making mistakes and that just gives you confidence."
Oran took advantage of the turnovers to play at a high tempo, and Puxico could not recover. Eagle sophomore Claire Ramsey pushed the gap to the largest of the first half, 42-13, with 3 minutes, 54 seconds until halftime.
"I think with our new defense, it works a lot better and I think we do good with it," Cauble said. "We wanted to show that we were still going to be good this year. Even though we're not the tallest, we're going to push it and go at our tempo."
Mackenzie Graviett knocked down a jumpshot inside the quarter's final minute and Oran took a 49-25 lead into the break.
Puxico found some footing right out of halftime, as Sophia Hancock dropped in a putback early on and Faith Oliver followed that by going coast to coast, but Kaylee Payne got to the bucket for a three-point play in response, and moments later
Oran was off and running on a 17-2 run that erased any hope the Indians had of gaining ground.
"I thought we did an excellent job, once again, offensively in the second quarter. Things just started to click. And then we just challenged them in the third quarter to pick it up defensively," Evans said. "Yeah, we were getting some turnovers, but we were starting to get a little bit lax on defense and we kind of responded with a better effort on the press and a better defensive effort overall."
When that swing ended with 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Oran's advantage was 36 points, 69-33.
With the game already firmly in hand, Puxico was held without a point in the fourth quarter.
Oliver led the Indians with 16 points, while Katelyn Pierre had 12 points and eight rebounds. Sophia Hancock added eight points, eight rebounds and three steals.
For Oran, sophomore Jessie Long contributed 10 points, nine rebounds and eight steals. The Eagles had 22 steals as a team.
After opening the season with a Lady Devils Invitational title again, now the Eagles are gunning for some revenge in the Delta New Years Invitational Tournament.
"We're just trying to get better before we have challenges down the road," Evans said. "If we're lucky enough to get there, we'll have a challenge in the next tournament we're in when we have Saxony [Lutheran] again.
"It's nice to win a tournament and it's good to win them back to back. Now we're trying to build for the challenges that lie ahead."
Oran is back on the floor Monday hosting New Madrid County Central.
First-team all-tournament honors went to Payne and Cauble for the victors, while Puxico's Oliver also made the cut.
That trio was joined by Delta's Macey Smith -- who scored 31 points on Saturday in helping the Bobcats to a third-place finish -- and Woodland's Krista Rhodes.
The second team included Chaffee's Kylie Wilhite, Delta's Lexi Mitchell, Kelly's Alyssa Tidwell, Puxico's Hancock and Oran's Stause.
PUXICO (41) -- Sophia Hancock 8, Kambryn Collard 5, Katelyn Pierre 12, Faith Oliver 16. FG 15, FT 6-8, F 12. (3-pointers: Oliver 4, Collard. Fouled out: None.)
ORAN (85) -- Brianna Stause 14, Kaylee Payne 7, Leah Cauble 39, Jessie Long 10, Claire Ramsey 8, Mackenzie Graviett 2, Katelyn Streeter 2, Madison Ramsey 3. FG 32, FT 10-13, F 11. (3-pointers: Stause 4, Cauble 4, C. Ramsey 2, M. Ramsey. Fouled out: None.)