Meadow Heights girls basketball team defeats St. Vincent to reach Class 2 quarterfinals for third straight year

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Meadow Heights' Heather Dietiker shoots against St. Vincent's Katie Mattingly during the second quarter in the Class 2 sectional Wednesday in Park Hills, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

PARK HILLS, Mo. -- Meadow Heights' offense struggled to do anything positive in the opening quarter Wednesday.

The Panthers turned over the ball nine times and missed four of their first five shots.

But Meadow Heights' defense proved impenetrable in the first quarter.

The Panthers shut out St. Vincent over the opening quarter and held the Indians at arm's length the rest of the way in the Class 2 sectional game. The Panthers caught fire in the second quarter and posted a 53-38 victory to advance to Saturday's state quarterfinal.

"Overall, defensively we were happy with what we did there," Meadow Heights coach Mitch Nanney said about the first quarter. "We were controlling what they did. We knew we could limit their scoring chances. We talked before, we thought if we got to 50 points, we could win the ballgame because we could limit their scoring chances enough with what they would do on offense."

Meadow Heights led 10-0 after the first eight minutes because St. Vincent's offense failed to ignite. The Indians went 0 for 11 from the field and committed eight turnovers in the first quarter.

"Nothing was falling," St. Vincent senior Chelsie Boxdorfer said. "We had a lot of good looks, we just couldn't get it to fall. We just needed to settle it in our hands and shoot it. But we were a little shaky at first."

St. Vincent (20-6) finished the game with 26 turnovers.

"They're a very physical team and we couldn't seem to get around them sometimes," Boxdorfer said. "They're really strong."

Meadow Heights junior Erin Bollmann said the Panthers' defense didn't do anything special to stop the Indians.

"They kept dribbling in circles so all we had to do was stay on them," she said. "[Nanney] told us they were going to do back cuts so we just stayed on the ball and we got the ball."

The two teams combined to miss 14 of their first 15 shots to open the game. Meadow Heights led 2-0 and had committed seven turnovers when Nanney had seen enough. He called a timeout and delivered a clear message with 4 minutes, 31 seconds left in the opening quarter.

"Relax and play," he said he told his team. "Go do what you do. They can't score on you right now. You're shutting them down here. Defense is fine. Relax, be patient on the offensive end. Make two or three passes, you'll get a good shot."

Bollmann said the language was clear.

"We were being babies so he told us to grow up and take a shot," she said.

Meadow Heights started getting shots to fall in the second quarter, going 6 of 10 from the field. But the Indians also started scoring. Senior Kali Wingerter finally dented the scoreboard for St. Vincent with a bucket with 7:07 left in the first half. But Meadow Heights entered halftime with a 12-point lead.

"At halftime, we knew we weren't giving it our all yet," Boxdorfer said. "We were still making the minor mistakes. We needed to get our heads up, and we knew the second half we were going to give it everything we had."

The Panthers opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run, and St. Vincent never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.

"We just tend to have a slow start always," Meadow Heights senior Gina Cureton said. "Our heads aren't there."

Meadow Heights featured a balanced attack, with three players reaching double figures. Bollmann led the way with 15, while Whitney Welker added 12.

"We don't really care who scores or who doesn't," said Cureton, who scored 11. "We're just ready to get to the state tournament, and that's all that matters."

The Panthers, who improved to 25-3, have talked openly about their desire to reach the final four this season after coming up short in the quarterfinal round the past two season. Now that they've reached the quarterfinal round, they said they're ready to back up their chatter.

"The pressure is starting to mount because we're so unsatisfied with winning districts and winning sectionals, and now we're on to quarterfinals," Cureton said. "We've just been preparing for so long. We're not nervous or anything like that."

The Panthers will face a familiar foe in the quarterfinals. They will face Couch (24-3), a team that beat them in the quarterfinals two seasons ago. The teams will battle at 2:45 p.m. Saturday at Dexter.

St. Vincent0131312--38
Meadow Hts1015217--53

ST. VINCENT (38) -- Chelsie Boxdorfer 8, Courtney Heberlie 5, Kayla Seabaugh 2, Storm French 9, Kelci Besand 4, Kali Wingerter 10. FG 16, FT 2-4, F 16. (3-pointers: French 1, Boxdorfer 2, Heberlie 1. Fouled out: none)

MEADOW HEIGHTS (53) -- Hattie Cook 7, Gina Cureton 11, Erin Bollmann 15, Heather Dietiker 8, Whitney Welker 12. FG 19, FT 12-20, F 9. (3-pointers: Dietiker 1, Cureton 1, Cook 1. Fouled out: none)

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