Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
In the Fatima girls basketball team’s second game of the State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational on Sunday, more than a third of the Lady Comets’ scoring came at the hands of all-state senior Morgan Brandt.
Monday, Fatima shared the wealth a bit more.
Five players scored 10 or more points to contribute to a 71-54 Fatima defeat of Alton (Ill.) in the fifth-place game.
“That’s something we’ve been focusing on,” Fatima coach Dustin Hays said. “One of our main points in our gameplan was to go high-low. We talked about it for two days now that we haven’t been using our post well enough. I’ve got smart girls, and they’re willing to work, and they’re willing to listen. They came out and they executed perfectly tonight.”
Kate Massman led the Lady Comets with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Brandt scored 14 points, Sammey Bunch and Annie Bock scored 11, and Christine Brunnert had 10.
Brunnert’s points came off the bench, which combined for 14 points and six rebounds for Fatima.
“They do a really good job for us off the bench, and that’s what we need is for them to come in and give us some quality minutes,” Hays said. “They did a great job today.”
The Lady Comets stuck with a zone defense most of the game, in part because of the driving ability of Lajarvia Brown, who racked up a game-high 24 points for Alton.
“(Brown) is really quick, the quickest girl that we’re going to see all year long,” Hays said “So we tried to go to more zone and just try to keep them in front.”
At the top of that zone defense was Leah Kesel, who had six kicked balls in the first half alone.
“That’s why we put her (there),” Hays said. “She’s long and athletic. … It happens 10 times in practice every day. She’s kicking balls, and we always kid her that she should be a part of the soccer team.”
Fatima played aggressively throughout, forcing 21 takeaways, eight more than they allowed.
“This is our third game in three days. Obviously, I know it is for them, too, but I think it shows a lot about our girls how many times we were on the floor and getting after it,” Hays said.
Brandt and Bock earned all-tournament honors for Fatima. Brown was named all-tournament for Alton.
The two wins and fifth-place finish is a step up for the Lady Comets, who lost two of three in a seventh-place finish in 2013.