In their second game with Jordan Wersinger out due to injury, the Lady Cats were set to face the host, Grand View Vikings. Grand View had started the season 4-0 so the Lady Cats knew they would have their hands full.
The game was set to be a back and forth battle as the teams traded baskets in the early going. The Vikings scored first but Kyra Hardesty got the Lady Cats on the board with a basket, followed by a deep three. Grand View kept the upper hand with another pair of baskets, but Kayley Frank and Annie Noah jumped into the scoring column to tie is at nine. The teams continued to battle back and forth, and the Lady Cats took their first lead, 17-15, on an Annie Noah bucket with 2:42 left in the opening frame. The Vikings quickly responded and went on a 6-0 run to go up 21-17. Kayley Frank connected for two with :23 seconds remaining but GVU hit a three at the buzzer to end the quarter with the Lady Cats trailing 24-19.
The second stanza started off slow for both teams as no one scored for the first 1:42. Kayley Frank opened the Lady Cat scoring with three free throws but there were no field goals to be found. Grand View continued to attack and soon the deficit had grown to 11, 33-22. Coach Mullis took a timeout with 4:22 left in the half to get the offense back on track. The timeout was to no avail and Grand View continued to build their lead while the Lady Cats stayed cold. A Stevi Jones free throw put the Lady Cats trailing 37-23 with 2:22 left in the half. Jones put the Lady Cats into the field goal column with a three at the :39 mark and that would conclude the scoring for the half. The Lady Cats cold streak had landed them in a 41-26 hole, heading to the locker room.
The Lady Cats had work to do if they were going to claw back into the game. The Vikings hit a three to open the third period, but Annie Noah and Michelle Gabani got things going for the Lady Cats. Noah added two more baskets and Frank one, but the defense needed to make a stand. The Lady Cats struggled to get momentum and the Vikings maintained an 18-point spread. The Lady Cats continued to push with baskets from Frank, Noah, and Hardesty to end the frame, but the third quarter ended with the Lady Cats trailing 60-42.
As time became a serious factor, the Lady Cats needed something to change the tide. A Pair of Viking free throws added to the deficit, but Michele Gabani hit back to back buckets to cut into the lead. A Stevi Jones three capped a Lady Cat 7-0 run and finally there was a burst of momentum. Grand View opted for a timeout and broke the string with a pair of free throws. Jones answered with a pair of free throws of her own and Kayley Frank scored a traditional three-point play to cut the gap to 10, 64-54. With 4:02 remaining, Annie Noah connected inside and the deficit was eight. The Lady Cats had the Vikings in a tight spot and the comeback effort was in full swing. Back to back threes by the Vikings took the wind out of the comeback sail and the game began to slip out of reach. A Gabani basket cut the score to 70-58 with 2:18 remaining. The Vikings hit another pair of threes and with a two by Katie Mayes and a Kayley Frank three, the Lady Cat scoring ended and the final, 76-63 was recorded.
Kayley Frank led the Lady Cat offense with 19 points. Annie Noah recorded her second consecutive double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Stevi Jones added nine, Michelle Gabani – 8, Kyra Hardesty – 7, and Katie Mayes chipped in two.
The Lady Cats will travel to Kansas as the face Friends University Thursday and compete in the Sterling College - Lonnie Kruse Classic, Friday and Saturday. Thursday’s game time is 7 PM. Games for Friday and Saturday will be at 6 PM and Noon respectively.