Strong second half helps Cape Central girls basketball beat Kennett 45-27
KENNETT, Mo. - Doing a better job defending the Kennett Indians' ball screens was a primary focus for the Cape Central Tigers varsity girls basketball team entering halftime Monday night.
“We struggled a little bit with their ball screens in the first half,” Cape Central coach Brandon Winters said. “We tried to do some different things against their ball screens and our girls got confused and were doing a little bit of one thing and a little bit of another in the first half. We made an adjustment at halftime and did a better job executing the two defensive schemes we were trying to implement in the second half.”
The defensive adjustment paid off for Cape Central. The Tigers outscored Kennett 13-1 in the third quarter to pad its lead to 27-14 by the start of the fourth quarter on its way to a 45-27 road victory.
“We had another quarter where we had a hard time scoring tonight,” Kennett coach Aaron New said. “We had some looks but you have to give Cape Central’s defense credit. They did a good job guarding us for the most part. Then when we did get a couple of easy looks we missed them in the third quarter. But I thought we played pretty decent in the first half. I really liked the way we defended them early on."
Kennett trailed 8-6 after one quarter and 14-13 at halftime before falling behind double digits in the third quarter. The Indians cut the deficit to 33-25 with 4:17 left in regulation but sharp free-throw shooting by the Tigers prevented Kennett from getting closer. Cape Central made 11 of the 12 free throws it attempted in the fourth quarter as it outscored Kennett 12-2 in the final four minutes of regulation.
“Free throw shooting hasn’t been our forte, especially at the beginning of the year,” Winters said. “But we’ve gotten better at it the past three or four games. We are also doing a good job of getting the right girls to the line.”
Two underclassmen led Cape Central in scoring. Freshman guard Taylor Horton, who hit three of her squad’s four 3-pointers, tallied 11 of her 13 points in the first half. Sophomore center Ella Vogel added 13 of her 15 points after halftime.
“We are a pretty young bunch across the board,” Winters said. “Even our seniors didn’t have a ton of varsity experience coming into the season. But they’ve played a big role in mentoring our younger players. Girls like Olivia Koch and Yeniah Jackson, and even Erica Goodin, who has been injured most of the year, have shown our underclassmen the proper way to handle themselves and approach the game.
"Taylor Horton and Ella Vogel have done a great job staying composed and are leading our team in scoring right now,” Winters continued. “Sometimes you forget one is 15 and the other just turned 16. There have been some growing pains but they have done a great job for us this season.”
Junior forward Caroline Patton paced Kennett with 11 points. The Indians’ next highest scorer, Taleigh Harrell, had six points.
“When we get other girls to score around Caroline we typically get in the 40s,” New said. “Our defense has been good enough to keep us in games when we score that many points. But when we don’t get out of the 20s it’s hard to win.”
Cape Central (14-7) continues SEMO Conference play Thursday at 6 p.m. when it visits Dexter.
Kennett (12-11) travels to traditional Class 3 powerhouse Saxony Lutheran Thursday at 5 p.m.
“That’s a long trip up there and Saxony has a good program,” New said. “We’ll just try to put together two good days of practice Tuesday and Wednesday and hope we play our best game of the year Thursday night.”
CAPE 8 6 13 18 - 45
KENN 6 7 1 13 - 27
CAPE CENTRAL (45) - Alivia Capshaw 4, Rakiara Bogan 7, Martasia Carter 1, Taylor Horton 13, Olivia Koch 3, Emma Winkler 1, Yeniah Jackson 1, Ella Vogel 15. FG 13, FT 15/22, F 13. (3-pointers: Horton 32, Koch 1; Fouled out: None).
KENNETT (27) - Taleigh Harrell 6, Katara Raiford 5, Caroline Patton 11, Anelle Harris 1, Ara Speilman 4. FG 11, FT 4/13, F 15. (3-pointers: Raiford 1; Fouled out: None).