By Bill Battle
Missourian Sports Editor
It lived up to the billing.
Top seeded Pacific, which has won the last two Seckman Girls Basketball Holiday Classic titles, opened the 16th annual event Wednesday with a dominant 66-14 win over eighth-seeded Festus.
“We came in and wanted to play good defense,” Pacific Head Coach Josh Spuhl said. “I think we did that. We thought about trying to mix up defenses, but said we just need to play our game no matter what. I was very proud of the girls. Holding a team to 14, I don’t care who it is, is a good game for us.”
The Lady Indians (5-3) advanced to face fifth-seeded Fox, which posted a minor upset of Northwest in Wednesday’s first round, 53-46.
Spuhl knew the Lady Indians faced a much stiffer challenge Thursday (after The Missourian went to press).
“I think everyone knows we deserve to be the No. 1 seed,” Spuhl said. “I know tomorrow will be tough. Fox has improved a lot. Jeremy (Donald) has the girls playing good. It should be a fun game.”
In other first-round games, second-seeded Lindbergh defeated Hillsboro, 56-20, and sixth-seeded Seckman upset Mehlville, 49-44.
“St. Clair got out and
Mehlville got in,” Spuhl said. “Mehlville is a good team. Lindbergh always is tough. Hopefully we can make it through and play one of those big schools.”
Pacific currently is tied with Lindbergh for the most championships at the Seckman event with four. Seckman has three titles while Notre Dame has won twice and St. Clair and Francis Howell Central have one title apiece.
“To threepeat would be pretty cool,” Spuhl said. “I know we won a couple back when I was still in school. The girls teams were pretty good back them. It would be fun to win again.”
The final round takes place Friday. The seventh-place game and third-place game take place at 1:30 p.m. The seventh-place game will be played in Gym 2 while the third-place contest is set for Gym 1.
The consolation game and championship game will be played at 3 p.m. The consolation contest is set for Gym 2 while the championship game will be played in Gym 1.
Pacific, which is tied with Seckman for the most championships in tournament history with four, came out and dominated from the opening tip.
The Lady Indians won the opening tip and seconds later, junior guard Ashley Hill drove to the basket for an easy layup.
Hill was the early catalyst for the Lady Indians with the team’s first eight points as Pacific netted the first 11 before Festus could put the ball into the basket once.
After one quarter, the Lady Indians led, 17-2. At the half, Pacific held a comfortable 33-6 lead.
After three quarters, the Lady Indians were ahead by 40 points, 54-14.
Pacific’s victory ended at 66-14 as Festus failed to score in the final eight minutes of running clock.
Pacific had nine different scorers in the game with nine players reaching double digits.
All nine saw considerable playing time in the game.
Hill led the team in scoring with 17 points.
Junior Kya Hill was next in the scoring column with 12 points.
Senior guard Lizzy Almo concluded the game with 10 points.
Senior Abby Spuhl and sophomore Meagan Wakefield each scored seven points while hitting one three-point basket apiece.
Also hitting a three-point basket was sophomore Ellen Rogers. She scored five points in the game.
Junior Hunter Kelemen ended the game with four points.
Sophomores Kate Cookson and Karlie King scored two points apiece, all on free throws.
Festus was paced by Carolyn White and Jasmine Amsden, who scored four points apiece.
Kristi Nickless, Caitlyn Persch and Madilyne Frazier netted two points apiece for the Lady Tigers.