Archive for Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jaguars girls basketball team rides streak into postseason

February 25, 2012, 8:06 a.m.

Updated: February 29, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

At the beginning of the season, there was the question of where the Mill Valley girls basketball team would go after losing its first three games.

At the conclusion of their regular season, the Jaguars put an exclamation point on their impressive 18-game winning streak on Friday by defeating Bishop Ward 45-13.

For coach John McFall this streak has come down to two characteristics: consistency and spirit.

“I think it just shows the resiliency of our team,” McFall said.

McFall also expressed the importance of wrapping up the league championship and what that means to the program. Especially since McFall has accomplished this in only two seasons at the helm.

“A league championship means you were good for a long period of time, and to win league championship you’ve got to win some games where you don’t play particularly well,” he said.

The Jaguars showed one of their other special qualities when they played lockdown defense on the Cyclones, holding them to only two points in the first half.

“We were just aggressive. We played well. We rebounded hard. We did a lot of things really well,” McFall said.

Playing such a high level of defense helped Mill Valley on the offensive end as well. Junior Stephanie Lichtenauer led all of the scorers on the night with 12 points.

Other contributors included junior Mackenzie Conklin who put up nine points. Juniors Tanner Tripp and MacKenzie Koch also chipped in seven and six points, respectively.

The extended lead entering the third quarter allowed Mill Valley to play everyone who suited up for the varsity game.

The most important people to get minutes tonight were the seniors. Both Katie Strickland and Olivia Frey logged significant time in their final regular season home game.

“They’re great kids. They come and work hard every day, and they’ve both done an excellent job of accepting their role, and being part of the team,” McFall said.

Now with all the momentum of an extended winning streak, the Jaguars are focused on sub-state.

Even though Mill Valley is in a similar situation as last year, they understand they can’t have the same result. Last year, Mill Valley fell in a stunner to three-win Blue Valley Southwest 39-30.

In 2012 any team they get will have the Jaguars full attention.

“They’re aware of what happened last year and I think they’re eager to sort of atone for it,” McFall said.

The 18-3 Jaguars earned a No. 2 seed in the 5A sub-state bracket, and will host Turner (2-18) at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Visit shawneedispatch.com and follow @shawneedispatch on Twitter for updates and scores.

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