MICDS girls basketball coach Scott Small will celebrate his 38th birthday New Years Eve. He certainly didn’t want to wait until his 40th birthday to defeat rival Westminster Christian Academy.
The Rams threw up an unrelenting press and ran the court, ousting the visiting Wildcats 54-43 for the MICDS Holiday tournament title. The tables were turned as Courtney Powell led the Cats to the inaugural tournament title over the Rams last year.
All told, Steve Stipanovich’s squad had won the last five games of the series. The first dates back to spring of 2012 when host Westminster ambushed the Rams, halting a 17-game win streak.
“It was good for our girls. It was up and down and sloppy at times. Both teams fought hard. They (Westminster are pretty big) so we had to negate their size a little bit," said Small.
Westminster jumped out to a 4-0 start but by halftime, MICDS was leading 28-19. The lead got to 53-38, the biggest of the game.
In the fourth quarter junior guard Emily Kyman got the hot hand, sunk a couple of treys and canned a pair of free throws, breaking the game wide open.
Kyman was really pleased to cart off the first-place trophy. “We know where we want to be in February. They (Westminster) are in or district and we have really been practicing hard.”
“This year we are really working together as a team and playing together,” said Kyman who led all scorers with 18 points. Senior captain Natalie Singer had 8 points before limping off in the first half with a sprained ankle.
The win upped the first-half Rams record to 10-1. Westminster is 7-2.
The Rams literally ran the taller Cats off the court. “We try and keep it fast paced, we run a lot in practice and just keep it moving,” said Kyman.
Senior guard Cameron Jackson agreed the win was worth the wait.
“It’s kind of nice to have this my senior year. We’ve been playing them and we kind of know what they have and we had to run on them and play really hard defense,” said Jackson.
Small recalls the brief history quite clearly.
“If I recall, three years ago, we beat them in a district finals. Since they, we’ve always been up by at least six and lost the games.
“We never felt like they were in our heads because we were up in every game. We just had trouble shutting them down late in those games.”
Not this time, however. The birthday cake Monday night will be extra special. This time the coach got his cake, and he can eat it too.