Cashion - 55
Cordell - 41
Cashion point guard Kaitin Taylor stood at the top of the three-point line, dribbling the ball with her right hand, orchestrating the offense with her left. Taylor took two dribbles to her left, maneuvering around a high-ball screen, giving her just enough space to cash in an open three. It was her second three in the fourth quarter, this one to put the LadyCats up 45-33 with a little over four minutes left in the game.
That play was a snapshot of how the entire game was for Taylor. Saturday night against Cordell in the Area 3, District 2 championship, she conducted the offense to a perfect symphony that would make any maestro jealous. When the LadyCats needed a bucket, Taylor delivered. When Cordell zeroed in on her, Taylor found the open teammate. When it was all said and done, she finished with a game-high 21 points, 15 of those came in the second half. She missed two shots all night long, one of the misses coming on a half court heave at halftime.
“Everything starts with our point guard,” Cashion Head Coach Totsy Manning said. “She is an extension of our coaching staff. She did an extremely good job tonight of playing within herself and taking what the defense gave her. When she does those things, it makes our team a whole lot better. She makes everyone around her better.”
With Taylor and company in sync, the offense clicked. The ball never stuck in one place, bouncing from teammate to teammate to open shot. Cashion’s offensive efficiency created an urgency for Cordell on the other end. An urgency that Cashion was able to take advantage of.
During the start of the first and third quarter, the LadyCat defense stifled any offensive attack. Cordell didn’t get on the scoreboard for the first five minutes of the game. To start the third quarter, Cashion held Cordell scoreless for four minutes. For a combined full quarter of game play, Cashion held Cordell without a field goal. Manning says they were successful because they knew what was going to happen.
“We knew what they were going to do, it was just a matter of us making sure we could execute,” Manning said. “Our team defense is so much better now than where it was at the beginning of the year. We’ve really grown as a team.”
With the win, Cashion stays on the winning side of the playoff bracket. On Thursday, they’ll face off with 21-3 #10 Hollis in Burns Flat-Dill City. It will be a tough match up for the young LadyCats, but one that they say they’ll be ready for.
“We feel really good about our match up with Hollis,” Manning said. “We feel good about it because our defense is always going to be solid, we just have to find ways to attack their weaknesses.”