Festus Lady Tigers Basketball Preview and 1st Win

The Festus Tigers Girls Varsity Basketball team returns the majority of their key players, and has already started the season 1-0, in hopes of making waves in 2021-22.

The Festus Tigers Girls Varsity Basketball team is coming off of a middling 10-8 season, but have their sights set on a resurgence in 2021-22. They only graduated two players from last year in Tristan Foulk and Brianna Teer, and return a solid roster of Juniors and Seniors.

The Tigers will likely be looking to Josie Allen to carry the load once again this year, as she is coming off an excellent 2020-21 campaign that saw her average 17.2 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. In fact, she led the team in every meaningful offensive and defensive category, and the team is more or less built around her. And she’s only a Junior

Her supporting cast will be Sr Emily Holt (7.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 31 assists, 52 steals), Jr Mya Courtois (7.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 21 steals) and Sr Kinsey Benack, who is an offensive force, but missed all of last season due to an unfortunate knee injury. Her return should be a big boost, along with contributions from fellow Seniors Samantha Helbrueck and Lily Knickman.

The Lady Tigers don’t have a lot of size, but they have strong outside shooters, quick hands and nice speed on the court. Steals and transitions will be key once again this year, along with getting the ball in Allen’s hands as much as possible. If this team, which remains mostly intact from last season, can gel and use last year’s campaign as a learning experience, they should see improved results in 2021-22.

Speaking of 2021-22, the Tigers have already kicked off their season, and opened with a bang. They hosted St. Clair, and opened up the year with a dominant 62-32 victory to start out 1-0.

Allen was at the center of things once again in this one. The Tigers got things going in the first quarter, outscoring St. Clair 16-6, highlighted by a pair of threes and two field goals from Allen, and they never looked back.

The second quarter was even more successful, as they outscored St. Clair 18-9 for a 34-15 lead. Three big buckets from Benack and another three-pointer from Allen were the driving force behind the big lead, and the Tigers were happy to head to the locker room with confidence and swagger.

Head Coach Steve McFarland was proud of his team’s first half effort and noted, “We were able to get to the rim early and often and held them to only 5 first half field goals. We ran the floor well.”

That trend would continue in the second half, as the Tigers put up 15 more, while allowing just six for a 49-24 lead. Allen had another trey and a FG and Benack contributed two more buckets as well. Then the girls sewed up in the fourth with 13 points, and kept a desperate St. Clair team from crawling back in with just eight of their own. The Tigers didn’t allow double-digit points in any quarter and handily took home the victory 62-32.

Allen was the star once again with 25 points to lead all scorers. She went 5-of-8 from three-point land, was 9-of-17 shooting overall and snagged three rebounds and three steals. Benack was second in scoring with 12 points and made the most of her opportunities, hitting six of her eight field goal attempts, while playing just three quarters.

Helbrueck shined in the sixth-man role with nine points off the bench, and Knickman was a force inside, wracking up nine points of her own and leading the team with five rebounds. It was a solid team effort, and the Tigers looked comfortable on the court, which is a welcome sign of things to come. They need to take this energy and carry it over into the Seckman Invitational Tournament next week.

When asked how he felt his girls performed on the hardwood, Coach McFarland said, “They were unselfish and more balanced than in the past. But they need to get in a little better shape.” Obviously that will come as they shake off a bit of that offseason rust, but this is a promising start for Festus.

Hopefully this year has some fortunate surprises in store.

  Festus Lady Tigers Basketball Preview and 1st Win

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