The clock was in continuous mode, the Red Wolves enjoying a 50 point lead over the Tigers, but neither team was easing up.
Both the Cedarcrest and Granite Falls girls squads battled for the ball down to the bell. It rang on a lopsided 72-16 win for Cedarcrest, now 9-2 and positioned for a strong run into the second half of the winter season.
Pressing defensively and keeping the ball on the run are the strengths for this team, and while head coach Brad Knowles called off the press, with a huge lead, at the half, “We can’t stop running.”
“Run and gun, this is what we do,” the coach added
The Wednesday, Jan. 2, home game punctuated how Cedarcrest is growing and coalescing as a team at a critical moment, with more challenging games ahead.
Sarah Stauffer shot the lights out, with 18, her highest tally of the season. Fellow senior leader Kailyn Campbell, now college-signed, also had 18. Junior Kalee Fowler had 10, Courtney McKinney had nine (one three) and Susan Kenney added eight in an athletic display.
“It was a real team effort tonight,” Knowles said.
Team chemistry is bubbling. Everyone is willing to pass, and when someone snags a steal, everyone is ready to help.
“If we had an opportunity to score, we would take it,” said senior guard Molly Hammontree.
“That’s how we play,” added senior post Campbell.
There’s no single star: McKinney, Stauffer, Kenney and Campbell have all had strong-scoring games.
“It can be anybody, any night,” Campbell said.
Wednesday evening was Stauffer’s night. She was on fire at the net, shooting much more than typical.
“I was a lot more confident,” the senior said. She credits the hard work that the Red Wolves have put in, working closely together, for that boost.
Junior varsity players Avery Rich and LuAnn Townley got a taste of the action for one quarter, and did well.
Hammontree praised the younger players who’ve stepped up as needed. Cedarcrest’s younger squad has been dominant, she says.
Junior Lacey Deming noticed Wednesday how the Tigers stayed competitive to the end. She’s a forward who’s been in almost every Red Wolf game this season, and has also noticed how team chemistry continues to improve. Personally, she wants to become a better dribbler, and, like the rest of the team, has her eyes firmly fixed on the road to state.
“Step by step,” says fellow junior Susan Kenney. “We’re doing a lot better than previous seasons.”
Kenney has had some real strong games this season, and as a shooting guard, gets under that basket.
“I try and score as much as I can,” Kenney says.
This group has played together since as early as fourth grade, and now is their time.
“We just want it really bad,” Kenney said.
“We’ve got all league games from here on out,” Knowles says. “We’re looking forward to finishing strong.”
"Just keep the intensity up," Hammontree says. "For the rest of the season, we need to keep it as strong as the first half."
Upcoming games include 7 p.m. Tuesday at home vs. Lakewood and 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at Coupeville. Follow Cedarcrest athletics here.