Sabercat seniors help team rebound

Castle View girls headed to Phoenix

Castle View’s Jess McGovern guards Ryleigh Akridge of Mullen during the Sabercats’ 41-32 win on Dec. 13.
Castle View's Jess McGovern guards Ryleigh Akridge of Mullen during the Sabercats' 41-32 win on Dec. 13.

Castle View’s girls basketball team has packed its composure for its trip to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix.

The Sabercats will be playing national competition Dec. 19, 20 and 21 and coach Matt Hema hopes his team continues to display the same poise that it showed in a 41-32 win over Mullen Dec. 13 in the Castle View gym.

Castle View, the No. 5 team in the CHSAANow Class 5A poll, dropped a 61-58 decision to Class 4A No. 7-ranked Valor Christian Dec. 10 but rebounded quickly to break open a close game in the fourth quarter and beat Mullen.

The game was tied at 30-all with 5:14 to play when the Sabercats converted three consecutive steals into five points and went on to outscore the Mustangs 11-2 down the stretch. Mullen was held scoreless for 4:32 after rallying to tie the game.

“We showed a little more composure down the stretch than we did in the Valor game,” said Hema. “We weren’t sucking wind as much and made good decisions. The defense had to buckle down and we limited them to one shot, which we weren’t doing (early on).

“Valor was a game that in the second half we didn’t do anything right. Everything we seemed to do was wrong even from a coaching standpoint. It seemed like every combination we put out there was the wrong combination.”

Against Mullen, Jess McGovern scored 12 points to pace the Sabercats while Maya Brown and Taylor Nynas each contributed seven points to the win. Castle View, which failed to connect on a myriad of easy shots around the basket, kept momentum from slipping away by forcing 23 Mustang turnovers.

“There were a lot of those layups, those little baskets, those little things and that’s what separates elite teams from the average teams,” admitted Hema. “Those elite teams make those easy plays. That’s where we are trying to get.

“We want to get to the point where we are making all those easy buckets, the ones inside, the catch and score off the glass. If we make those, we’ll be right up there with the top teams in the state. If we miss those it gives teams a chance to beat us.”

Castle View has an all-senior starting lineup and features eight seniors on its 12-woman roster.

“At this stage we’re much better than we were last year at the same time,” said Hema. We’re all seniors and juniors and the juniors are much better than they were as sophomores. As long as we are showing improvement, I’m happy.

“The object is not to be playing our best basketball right now but just be trying to improve. League (Continental) is going to be tough. Regis is a juggernaut right now. Highlands Ranch is playing good basketball. ThunderRidge is playing well and Rock Canyon is senior-loaded as well. You have four teams in the top five. We obviously have to move our way back after the loss to Valor.”

No comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment