Crunch Time Defensive Plays, Jump Shot By McNichols Lift Ladue Past DuBourg In Tourney Semifinal At Ritenour
Rams will play host school in championship final, after getting past DuBourg in hard-fought early afternoon tussle.
OVERLAND -- For the first 30 minutes of Thursday's Ritenour Holiday Tournament game against Bishop DuBourg, Ladue High girls basketball coach Cord Dockery tried just about every trick in the book to get his Rams to dig in and play defense like he knew they could.
Dockery called different defenses; he called several timeouts to set up the defensive possession like he wanted; he even played some unusual lineup combinations to hopefully get the Rams to dig in.
In the final two minutes, the coach finally found a strategy that would work -- he challenged his crew to show what kind of guts they had.
Dockery must have yelled the phrase "it's gut-check time" 20 or 30 times (probably wasn't really that many), but the point was clear, the coach needed his team to play tough in a tight ballgame against a young, but fearless club from DuBourg.
Fortunately for Ladue, the "gut-check" challenge worked, as the Rams forced two huge DuBourg turnovers and got a clutch 15-foot jumper from senior Nicole McNichols to slide past the Cavaliers for a 49-45 win.
"It's just kind of been like that all year for us," Dockery said. "We just can't seem to put together four full quarters of good basketball. We got three before. Today, we might have had two. But we still haven't played four good quarters yet. It's something we've got to work on."
The Rams may not have played their best for all four quarters, but they sure were dynamite in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, when they held DuBourg scoreless for a come-from-behind victory.
Sophomore Cate Meyer got the rally started, when she made a free throw, then stole the ball away from DuBourg to give the Rams the ball back again.
Fellow sophomore Jelissa Puckett made a free throw on Ladue's next possession, which tied the score at 45 with 1:07 left in the game.
The biggest play though, came about 10 seconds later, when senior Elizabeth Greenberg stepped in front of a driving DuBourg player and took a hard charge that gave the Rams the ball back again.
"One thing you can say about these girls is they're tough," Dockery said. "We didn't do a whole lot right, but we did have some girls step up for us at the end."
McNichols drove that point home when she stepped into a 15-footer from the right elbow and knocked it down to give Ladue the lead for good with 33 seconds left.
Greenberg then salted the game away, following another empty DuBourg possession, with two free throws with 2.6 seconds left that gave the Rams their final four-point edge.
Ladue, which is now 7-4 on the season, will play its final game of the 2012 calendar year on Friday, when it faces event host Ritenour in the tournament championship game at 1:30 p.m.
The 9-0 Huskies earned their trip to the tournament championship game by knocking off Affton, 50-33, on Thursday.
Score by Quarters ........... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final Score
Ladue ............................. 10 . 14 . 13 . 12 -- 49
Bishop DuBourg ............. 8 ... 19 .. 8 .. 10 -- 45
Ladue -- Kaitlynn Walker 12, Nicole McNichols 12, Cate Meyer 10, Liz Greenberg 7, Katherine DeBoer 3, Logan Meeks 2, Natalie Grimm 2, Jelissa Puckett 1.
Bishop DuBourg -- Tiara Fitzpatrick 15, Claire Ford 10, Hailey Barnes 9, Shannon Cahill 6, Megan Huelsing 4, Emily Roeder 1.