- Parent Category: Sports
- Written by Chris Case
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Whitaker, Williams make all-tourney squad
The Cuba Lady Wildcats took second place in the Newburg Invitational basketball tournament held in early February. The Cuba varsity girls knocked off two teams to advance to the tournament championship but were beaten by a tough Licking team in the finals.
Cuba opened the tournament with a Feb. 4 game against Richland. The Wildcats entered the tournament with the #2 seed and Richland #7. It was a contest that was pretty much all-Cuba for most of the game.
Ahead 8-5 after the first quarter, the Lady Cats turned up the heat in the second quarter by outscoring the Lady Bears 19-9. Cuba took a 27-14 lead into the locker room and then returned to the floor even more energized, scoring another 19 points in the third quarter and holding Richland to 11.
The Cats led 46-25 going into the fourth quarter and managed to hold Richland to just one point in the final period for a 57-26 final score.
Taylor Williams had an outstanding game for Cuba, scoring 20 points to lead the team and also knocking down four three-pointers in the first half.
Rachel Wilson reached double figures with 10 points, Shelby Whitaker scored eight, Alexis Price five, Sarah Griffith four, Gabby House-Lee four, Evie Griffith two, Gabbie Smith two, and Hannah Mitchell two.
The victory pitted the Lady Cats against #3 seeded Laquey in the second round of the tournament. It was a much tougher battle for the Wildcats but in the end a satisfying victory.
Cuba trailed by four at the half, 19-15, in a defensive standoff with the Lady Hornets. They only scored seven points in the third quarter but were able to hold Laquey to just six, closing the deficit gap to 25-22 at the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, Williams came up big again for the Cuba girls, draining a pair of three-pointers that helped put the Cats ahead for good. In the fourth period, Cuba outscored Laquey 15-9 to win by a narrow 37-34 margin.
Williams led the team in the low-scoring affair, with 13 total points and seven of those in the fourth quarter. Whitaker had 11 points, Sarah Griffith eight, and House-Lee five.
Cuba faced top-seeded Licking in the finals, after the Licking girls had knocked off both the Newburg JV team and Viburnum to advance to the championship round.
It was tough go for the Cuba girls, who just couldn’t find their offensive punch against a very strong Licking defense. Williams, who led the team in its previous two games, only made one early three in this one, and no Cuba player reached the double figure mark.
Licking led by four early on, 15-11, but blew the game wide open in the second quarter, holding Cuba to just two points. The Licking Cats were ahead 31-13 at the half and then never really looked back, going on to win the tournament by a score of 57-29.
Mitchell topped the Cuba scorebook in the finals with nine points. Whitaker had eight, House-Lee six, Williams three, Sarah Griffith two, and Aurora Pfeiffer two.
After scoring 11 points in the first quarter, the Lady Wildcats were offensively shut down and compiled just 19 the rest of the game.
“To reach the championship game—that was good for us, being a young team,” said Coach Yancey Temple. “We played two really good teams. We beat one of them and lost to the other. That’s not bad. Licking got us because we just couldn’t get any good shots off. They play great defense and they can block some shots.”
Editor’s Note: Taylor Williams and Shelby Whitaker were both selected from the Lady Wildcat squad to the Newburg all-tournament team.