De Soto girls fall to Louisburg, 34-31
De Soto For the first five minutes of the De Soto girls basketball team's 34-31 loss to Louisburg on Tuesday, Ryan Robie's Wildcats did whatever it wanted en route to an early nine-point advantage.
Junior Mariah Grizzle got De Soto going down low with six points in the paint, and senior Sydney Jones knocked down a 3-pointer to put the home team up, 11-2. Right after Jones' trey, though, Grizzle picked up her second foul at the 2:58 mark of the first quarter.
De Soto only made five shots from the field the rest of the way after sinking five in the first five minutes, as Louisburg's 2-3 zone threw the DHS offense out of sorts.
"We're obviously much more efficient with Mariah and Julia in — especially against zones. They just have a nice way of clicking (with the) high-low. It's a little more of an offensive threat," Robie said. "Jackie (Kennard) comes off of the bench and provides us a great defensive presence. Just offensively, it's not the same. Mariah is getting us 12 (points) a game, and is capable of scoring 20 a game. When we have to manage minutes, it becomes difficult."
Grizzle re-entered the game in the second quarter and made two free throws, but they were De Soto's only points of the period. De Soto's defense held strong for the remainder of the half, though, as it held Louisburg to two points as well during the second quarter to take a 15-10 lead into the locker room.
Robie was pleased with how his team kept Louisburg senior Madisen Simpson from getting into a rhythm on the offensive end. Simpson did lead Louisburg with nine points, but Robie indicated that she's capable of doing a lot more.
"They have for sure a first-team all-league kid in Simpson. She is tough and she finds ways to score," Robie said. "Our game plan coming into tonight was sag off one of their post players and provide an interior presence every time she would get touches in the paint. I thought Julia (Johnson) did a fantastic job of doing that for us, and Sydney did a great job on ball of making her life difficult. Putting a little bit of length on her kind of disrupted her a little bit. I thought we did a great job on her tonight."
Simpson only made two shots from the lead, but they both came at key points of the third quarter. The senior guard converted on a traditional 3-point play to give Louisburg its first lead at 17-16 with 2:23 left in the third. After Haley Cain made a layup to push Louisburg's lead to three, Jones — who led De Soto with 10 points — hit the second of her three 3-pointers to tie it back up.
Simpson answered with a 3-pointer on the following possession, though, and Louisburg led for the rest of the way.
De Soto remained within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter, and had a chance to send it to overtime in the closing seconds, but Tanith Beal's 3-point attempt at the buzzer fell short.
"I just told the girls, I'm not disappointed in the loss," Robie said. "Our defensive effort was really good, and we missed a lot of shots that are usually things that we do pretty well."
Robie's Wildcats dropped to 12-7 going into their regular season finale and senior night on Friday against Baldwin. The De Soto head coach knows that Baldwin (ranked No. 7 in Class 4A-I) will not be an easy match-up for his squad, but he said it will be a good game for the Wildcats to play before sub-state next week.
"Five seniors — I have no doubt that they'll be ready to play," Robie said of Beal, Jones, Johnson, Kennard and Madison Plake.
The Wildcats already have the No. 3 seed in their 5A sub-state locked up, and will host St. James Academy at 7 p.m. March 1. Robie got the chance to watch the Thunder defeat St. Teresa's, 39-33, in double overtime on Saturday.
"They have a couple of kids that can really play. A couple of lefties — I believe it's (Mary) Goetz and (Emily) Kaufman — and both are long and athletic," Robie said. "Both can shoot it pretty well. They will be a tough out in sub-state."
Robie added, "Their record (5-14) does not indicate how good they are. They play in a tough league, but we play in a pretty tough league as well. We feel like we're ready to go and have a good matchup. They're not as big."
De Soto (31)
Mariah Grizzle 3-6 3-4 9, Tanith Beal 2-7 2-4 6, Sydney Jones 3-10 1-3 10, Mara Montgomery 0-1 0-0 0, Ellie Bream 0-2 0-0 0, Mackenzie Shupe 1-6 2-3 2, Julia Johnson 1-6 0-1 2, Madison Plake 0-4 0-0 0, Jackie Kennard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-42 8-15 31.
Carson Buffington 1-4 4-5 6, Kennia Hankinson 0-3 0-0 0, Haley Cain 1-1 0-0 2, Isabelle Holtzen 0-0 0-0 0, Tayler Lancaster 1-4 0-0 3, Madisen Simpson 2-9 4-6 9, Paige Buffington 2-3 2-2 8, Chloe Renner 0-3 2-6 2, Emalee Overbay 1-2 2-2 4. Totals: 8-29 0-0 34.
De Soto 13 2 6 10 — 31
Louisburg 8 2 12 12 — 34
Three-point goals: De Soto 3-19 (Jones 3); Louisburg 4-10 (Paige Buffington 2, Simpson, Lancaster). Fouled out: Grizzle, De Soto. Turnovers: De Soto 14, Louisburg 15.