SECTIONALS: One-Loss Jasper Tough Foe for Skyline

Skyline freshman Kaylee DaMitz (with ball) is a big reason why Skyline has its eyes on a third-straight trip to Columbia. (Staff Photo)

CLASS 2 GIRLS STATE SECTIONAL

#2 Skyline (25-4) v. #7 Jasper (27-1)

March 4 / 7:45 PM

Site: Clinton High School

After consecutive trips to the Class 3 Final Four the past two seasons, including last year’s state runner-up finish, the Lady Tigers are on a mission to return to Columbia. The first stop on the journey to State is a Sectional match-up against a talented team from Jasper. The Lady Eagles, who enter the contest with an impressive 27-1 record, are currently ranked #7 in the latest MBCA poll.

Skyline's Alli Carter (Staff Photo)

“Jasper is very long and athletic,” said Skyline head coach Kevin Cheek, the reigning MBCA Class 2 Girls Coach of the Year. “They will be a tough match-up for us. I think for us to win the game we must rebound the basketball extremely well and be able to guard the basketball off the dribble.”

Jasper features a deep, balanced, and experienced roster stocked full of upperclassmen. The Lady Eagles can legitimately go 12-deep if needed, but get the bulk of their production from a senior and six juniors. Anne-Marie Anibal, who is in her first year of varsity basketball after previously being home-schooled, leads the team in scoring, with fellow juniors Morgan Winchester and Brianna Cawyer also double figure scorers. Senior Monica Steeves and junior Lexie Royster are both defensive stoppers who can also put the ball in the basket, while junior Elizabeth Maneval coordinates the Lady Eagle attack and is the team’s assist leader. Junior Audra Etcheson is also a significant contributor for head coach Kent Anderegg’s Lady Eagles.

Skyline's Lauren Wouters (Staff Photo)

Skyline will not be at a disadvantage in the talent department, as the Lady Tigers also have a deep, athletic lineup that likes to pressure opponents all over the court. Senior Madisen Brethower, a two-time All-State selection, is one of three Lady Tigers averaging double figures for the year. The other two are sophomore McKinsey Mountain, a shifty southpaw who is capable of creating her own shot off the bounce, and freshman phenom Kaylee DaMitz, a supremely gifted guard who is on her way to a standout career at Skyline. Senior Alli Carter and sophomore Lauren Wouters both are capable of getting hot from the outside. Several Lady Tigers figure to contribute off the bench for Skyline.

The Lady Eagles’ lone blemish on their record is a 52-43 loss against Skyline’s Mid-Lakes Conference rival Marionville on Dec. 20, which means Jasper has yet to lose in 2015. The Lady Eagles will ride an 18-game winning streak into the Sectional match-up.

Skyline also has a loss to Marionville on its resume, a 58-51 setback on Feb. 7. The Lady Tigers, winners of the Pink & White Lady Classic and tournaments at Warsaw and Skyline, are currently on a six-game winning streak. Skyline is one of just two teams to beat Class 2 #1-ranked Crane this season (the other is Class 3 #3-ranked St. James).

The Skyline-Jasper victor advances to the state quarterfinals, which will be played at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday at Lee’s Summit High School. Awaiting the victor will be the Santa Fe-Penney winner.

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