The Festus Tigers Girls Varsity Basketball team lost consecutive games for the first time this season on Monday as they fell 62-52 in a tight road matchup with Saxony Lutheran. They quickly righted the ship on Thursday though as they hosted DeSoto on Senior Night and laid waste to the Dragons 56-24.
The Saxony game that kicked off the week was a close, yet frustrating one for Festus. The Tigers went up 17-15 after the first quarter, but the game was so back and forth that no lead seemed safe. In the second they lost the eight-minute battle 10-7 and found themselves trailing by the slimmest of margins at the half.
The action that followed the break wouldn’t be kind to the Tigers either, as Saxony came out on a mission and extended their lead with a 13-10 third quarter. The fourth was filled with end to end action, but was ultimately all about free throws. Festus lost that battle as they just couldn’t find the basket from the charity stripe, and Saxony executed when they needed to. The Tigers lost the quarter 24-18 and the game 62-52, dropping their record to 12-6.
Head Coach Steve McFarland knew the struggles his girls faced in this one and commented with, “We lost this one at the free throw line. Saxony was 19/34 and we were 2/11. We also had 24 turnovers. We have to guard better in the paint.”
Despite the loss Kinsey Benack had a monster game, leading the team with 20 points and four steals. She benefitted from the unselfish play of Josie Allen, who had a double-double that included 11 points, ten rebounds and a team-high seven assists. Emily Holt was big on the boards as well with ten rebounds of her own, and Mya Courtois had a nice game with 11 points and five assists.
Things changed quickly just two days later though as the Tigers put on a show at home on Senior Night against DeSoto. Festus scored early and often in the first half and the defense was so smothering that the Dragons couldn’t get anything going on offense. The Tigers won the first quarter 16-3 and the second 20-5 for a ridiculous 36-8 lead at the half, showcasing their best defensive effort of the season.
The girls stayed pumped after the break, and the third quarter offered more of the same for DeSoto as Festus took the frame 16-6. That stretched their lead to 26 points and allowed Coach McFarland to get all the Seniors in the game. The Dragons won the final quarter 10-4, but lost the game handily 56-24 as the Tigers cemented a special night in the history books.
Festus’ Head Coach touched on the keys to the game, saying, “The key to tonight’s victory was a patient, well-executed offense along with a stingy defense to start the game. We also ran the floor very well. Since it was Senior Night, we were able to rotate all six Seniors in and out without compromising our game plan.”
Allen lead the charge in this one with 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals, but was paced nicely by Courtois who added 12 points while going 3-for-5 from three-point range and 3-of-4 from the line. Lily Knickman was the only other player in double digits with 11 points in the offensively-distributed victory.
The Lady Tigers will now look to build off this win and start another string of victories on Monday as they host Fox. Tipoff is at 7pm.