It was a hot and cold week for the Festus Tigers Girls Varsity Basketball team. They had a massive offensive output in an impressive 91-32 win over Gateway STEM on Monday, but fell for the second time this season to the Perryville Pirates two days later 53-32. The “W-L-W-L” stretch continued for Festus as their string of failing to win consecutive games dates back to 12/8-12/12.
The stars aligned on Monday though, as they hosted Gateway and just went bananas from the start. The Tigers put up a season-high 35 points in the first quarter and held Gateway to just seven. Josie Allen went ballistic with 15 points in the frame, hitting six buckets and a three-pointer to pace the suddenly ridiculous offense of the Tigers.
The defensive pressure was in full effect, which was helping to create such an explosive offense in this one. The Tigers dropped another 28 on Gateway in the second, led once again by Allen, who added eight points in the quarter to her total. Ciara McDonald stepped up as well with 17 first half points. At the break Festus held a bonkers 63-17 lead, thanks in large part to committing just three turnovers in the half.
A lead of that size affords a team a certain level of comfort, and the Tigers used that to their advantage. They rested their starters for the most part and leaned on the bench the rest of the way. And they performed admirably. They won the third-quarter battle 19-12 and then slammed the door shut in the fourth with a 9-3 showing. That resulted in a wild 91-32 victory.
Head Coach Steve McFarland was delighted with the production of his players off the bench in this one and beamed, “I was extremely proud of the girls off the bench tonight. Although they have seen limited playing time lately, they executed very well.”
The Tigers committed just nine turnovers in the entire game and all 12 players on the roster found their way into the scoring column. In fact 10 of the 12 all recorded at least one assist as well. Allen led the way with 23 points, which was extremely impressive considering she didn’t play at all in the second half. She had 10 assists and four steals to boot. McDonald was good for 17, five boards, three assists and four steals in her one half of play as well.
In other notable efforts, the bench went 10-for-17 from two-point range and 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Elizabeth Skaggs scored 12 points and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, Anna Arman scored 11 points off the bench going 3-for-3 from 3-point range and Olivia Madden lead the team in rebounding with six boards.
It was quite the offensive output, but that would not be the case against the Pirates on Wednesday. Perryville had already handed the Tigers a loss earlier in the season, and this loaded Pirate squad was looking for more of the same. Their strategy of double-covering Allen paid off in the past and they used it once again in this one. That and too many turnovers doomed this lady Festus squad.
The turnovers led to easy buckets for the Pirates and they capitalized on virtually every occasion, taking a healthy 14-3 first-quarter lead. The second frame wasn’t much better, with the Tigers only managing nine and Perryville extending their lead with 13 more. That made it a more-or-less insurmountable 27-12 lead as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Things got a little better after the break, but not much, as both teams were able to score 13 points. It was an offensive upgrade for Festus, but didn’t cut into their deficit at all. Finally, in the fourth the Pirates sailed off into the sunset with a 13-7 advantage and squashed any hope of a miracle Tiger comeback.
McDonald was the leading scorer and one of few bright spots for Festus with 14 points, recording a double-double with 12 rebounds as well. Mya Courtois had nine points, and Allen (double-covered all game) was held to a season low five.
It was a bummer of a followup to such an impressive win earlier in the week, but these young Tigers still have time to get in gear before tournament play. They host Saxony Lutheran on Monday to try and get back into the win column.