- William Holtz
Lady Lakers Advance to First Elite 8 Since 1984
Junior guard Darby Roam couldn't have picked a bigger stage to have her best career performance on than the one she did on Wednesday night. The Camdenton Lady Lakers advanced to their first Elite 8 appearance since 1984 by beating Blue Springs at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center at State Fair Community College in Sedalia. Sure, Roam finished with just 10 points, but it's the magnitude of the those 10 points that matters during the Lakers 56-49 victory in the Class 5 A Sectional Championship. Blue Springs had just went on a 7-0 to give the Lady Wildcats their biggest lead of the game at 29-25 half-way through the 3rd quarter. That's when Roam hit a 3-point basket while also getting fouled and then converted the free throw to tie it at 29. Roam nailed another three-point basket shortly after and finished with 10 points for the game and provided a huge spark for her team.
"She played big tonight. It's always encouraging when anyone on the floor can step up and make a play for you and tonight Darby did that more than once," said Lady Lakers head coach Staci
Caffey. I'm sure Caffey didn't mind the fact that her team shot a staggering 23-27 from the free-throw line on the night and forced well-over 30 turnovers by the Lady Wildcats. "We were very active defensively and I thought we played much better in the second half with our inside-out game and also protected the basketball better in the second half," stated Caffey.
Roam wasn't alone in her big-time performance as Senior Kyle Meier finished with a game-high 19 points to go along with her 8 rebounds. Coley Rezabek added 8 points while senior Abbie Miller had 8 points as well, but all 8 of hers came in the second half. Junior Natalie Basham was dropping dimes like a bank with no other currency options and had some big rebounds down the stretch. Junior Jessica Watson hit all 3 of her free-throw attempts after getting fouled on a 3-point shot and Shelby Kurtz was cooler than the other side of the pillow finishing with 4 points on a perfect 4 of 4 from the charity stripe.
All in all, the Lady Lakers came to play and got wonderful support from a huge traveling Camdenton crowd. The crowd was so solid even, that the student section forced an arrant desperation 3-point heave by a Lady Wildcat by counting down from 5, although there was still nearly 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Camdenton's big win advances them to their first State Quarterfinal match-up since they made the Final Four back in 1979. The Lady Lakers will get a chance at revenge against the Kickapoo Chiefs with much more at stake this time around. The Chiefs defeated the Lady Lakers earlier this year 82-75 in overtime. That game was played in Kickapoo.
"I'm excited that these girls get another chance at Kickapoo. They've worked so hard and I couldn't be any more proud of these girls. They truly are an incredibly special group,' said Caffey.
The Lady Lakers State Quarterfinal match up against Kickapoo will take place at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar this Saturday and is set to start at 6 PM.
Go get em, girls! I'll be rooting for ya!