The last time the Ste. Gen Lady Dragons matched up against Herculaneum Black Cats was in the 2019-20 season opening nail-biter. Last year the game came down to the wire for the Dragons, but leave it to Maci Reynolds to hit the go ahead three-pointer with 9.8 seconds left in the game, giving the Dragons the highlight-reel 44-42 victory.
Little did Reynolds (or any of the Lady Dragons) know at the time, the effects of her clutch three-pointer in those final 10 seconds would set in motion an unbelievable 19-game winning streak and a 25-2 season.
This year, things started a little differently for the Dragons as they opened the season against the Black Cats for the second consecutive year.
As the game started, Ste. Gen went back and forth with the Black Cats early, with contributions from Sydney Bumgardener and Megan Aubuchon with two points apiece while Marysa Flieg added four points. Foul trouble cost the Dragons an early lead, but as the first quarter wound down with Ste. Gen trailing 10-8, Head Coach Jordanna Walk called a timeout with 1:19 left to get Dragons breathing fire again.
Walk noted, “We started slow with what I would call first game jitters,” but she knows her team and that time out would change the course of the game.
The second quarter showed these Dragons can still fly, and one in particular decided to take over. Maci Reynolds, who didn’t score a point in the first quarter came out ready to scorch the court. Reynolds scored 11 of the 17 points in the second quarter, connecting beyond the arc three times. With Flieg adding four more from the floor after hitting a couple shots from the field, the Dragons led 25-18 at half.
As the second half started, the offense continued to play their game as Reynolds, Flieg and Aubuchon led the way in scoring. The offense seemed to have things on cruise control, so Ste. Gen decided they’d pull another trick out of the 2019-20 playbook and bring back the defense that shut down so many teams last year.
Flieg mentioned “The biggest factor tonight was our defense and moving the ball on offense. Coach said to step up our defense and our offense would follow and she was right.”
The Black Cats couldn’t put a point on the board in the third quarter as they watched the Dragons grow their lead to 21. With an attempt to right the ship, Herky called a timeout with 6:30 left in the third but that only led to foul trouble for the Black Cats, as they found themselves trailing 39-18.
The fourth quarter brought much of the same for both teams. The Black Cats, at times, showed signs of getting back into the game but the Dragons proved to be too strong, surrendering just five points. With Ste. Gen adding another 13 points in the fourth, the game was suddenly a 52-23 blowout as the final whistle sounded.
The Senior-led Dragons saw big contributions from their two Seniors Flieg and Maci Reynolds, who both led the team in scoring with 18 apiece. While they did lead in scoring, this win was undoubtedly a team effort. Each player had their fair share to contribute on the defensive end, as they forced the Black Cats to commit 14 turnovers and allowed just two players to score over five points. The Dragons outside defense was especially impressive as they surrendered just one shot from beyond the arc.
After the game, Walk said, “We settled in during the second half and were able to use our defense to create points at the offensive end.”
These young ladies, along with Coach Walk, didn’t need long to get back into form. They once again appear to be a handful for anyone they play this season.
The Lady Dragons look to keep things rolling against Sikeston on December 7th.