Prep girls basketball: La Monte wins rubber match vs. Smithton; Tigers' Freel scores 1,000th point
The La Monte Lady Vikings and Smithton Tigers know a lot about each other. The teams played their third game in two weeks on Friday night in the first round of the Kaysinger Conference girls basketball tournament at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
The Lady Vikings won by one point two weeks ago at La Monte. On Jan. 23, Smithton had a double-digit win over the Lady Vikings in the third-place game of the Leeton girls basketball tournament.
On Friday night, the Lady Vikings cushioned their lead in the second half and beat Smithton 46-33 to advance to the quarterfinals.
La Monte (10-10) will face second-seeded Stover in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Saturday. Smithton (6-16) will meet an undetermined opponent at 7:30 p.m. Monday in a consolation game.
What was the difference between Friday’s and last weekend’s game?
“Cathy (Butts) did a much better job on (Mariah) Cairer. That was essential,” La Monte coach John Curry said. “Actually, our defense was excellent. Every now and then, we lost sight of what we’re doing. Cathy did a super job on Cairer, keeping her off the boards and not letting her get the lob. She still got her points, but we did a better job on her.”
Cairer still wound up with 17 points, and Butts had 16 for the Lady Vikings.
“They played a little different (than the last time),” Smithton coach Lonny Price said. “They covered up Bethany (Freel) a little bit. They covered up Kaley (Snapp) in the first half. Things just weren’t working for us today. Sometimes, you have those days.”
Freel was held to 10 points.
“We concentrated on Freel because we feel like she’s one of the best players in the conference,” Curry said. “We try to keep her out of the game as much as possible and as long as possible.”
Despite the loss, Freel undoubtedly will remember Friday’s matchup.
She scored her 1,000th career point on a free throw with 6.3 seconds left in the game.
“We’re super proud of her,” Price said. “She’s a great athlete. She works hard. She not only plays basketball every chance she can get in school and the offseason, she’ll run track to stay in shape.”
The first half was close throughout with the Tigers leading 8-7 after one quarter and 16-15 after two.
The Lady Vikings scored 10 of the first 12 points in the third quarter and took a 25-20 lead on a 3-pointer by Kate Patrick. Butts, who scored 16 points, made a 3-pointer to push her team’s lead to six (28-22), and La Monte led 33-28 after three quarters.
Freel scored eight of her points in the third.
The Lady Vikings took control in the fourth quarter, opening the period with a 9-0 run to go ahead 42-28 on a free throw by Sandra Arroyo, who paced La Monte with 17 points, with 4:26 to play. They maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Smithton vs. TBD
7:30 p.m. Monday at Davis Multipurpose Center
La Monte vs. Stover
4 p.m. Saturday at Davis Multipurpose Center
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