For Kerrigan Guerin and her Chadwick teammates, a Class 1 District 4 championship plaque made all the photos they posed for Saturday worthwhile.
After whipping Niangua 53-29, the Lady Cardinals were asked to smile for the cameras as they stood under a basket and then their photo shoot moved to a school classroom. Later, they joined Chadwick’s boys team for pictures as they all sat on the gym’s bleachers.
“It’s very overwhelming with all the moms taking pictures,” said Guerin, a freshman guard. “Pictures are not my thing. But it’s exciting to hold a District championship trophy.”
Chadwick claimed its second straight District championship on the strength of a defensive effort that hounded Niangua ball-handlers from one of the court to the other.
Chadwick’s press forced 30 Niangua turnovers.
“That’s a good number,” coach Scott Payne said. “Our go-to all year has been to speed people up and force them into turnovers. In the third quarter, I thought our defense got better. We got some deflections and steals and turned them into layups. We pushed the game out where I thought we had control.
“When we can create turnovers, we’re really good,” he added. “That’s what has got us to 21 wins and we’re not going to stop now.”
The up-tempo suits the playing style of Guerin and classmate Raeleigh Little. The duo teamed for 42 points.
Little is certainly well-suited for pressing. Her cross country background serves her well on the hardwood.
“She’s an all-state cross country runner. She has a motor that doesn’t quit,” Payne said. “ If you get her in transition, she’s not going to quit. Rayleigh knows to run the lane and Kerrigan is going to find her and Rayleigh will finish. Those two are good 1-2 punch, especially in the open court.”
“Cross country definitely helps with all the running because there is quite a bit,” Little said. “I don’t really have to get ready for basketball season. I already have conditioning down. I can hop in and be ready to go.”
Niangua stayed close for a while, trailing 20-14 in the second quarter. But Chadwick’s lead was at 20, 41-21, by the end of the third quarter.
“We’ve got a lot of good athletes. When we press, we put a lot of pressure on the opponent,” Guerin said. “We put pressure on them and they had turnover after turnover. “You see them tired and you just want to pounce on them. It kind of fuels me when they get tired and aggravated. You know they’re going to lose their minds and throw it anywhere.”
NIANGUA (29) — Stuber 2 0-0 4, Knifong 1 2-3 4, Terry 0 1-3 1, Callaway 6 5-8 18, Petty 1 0-2 2.
CHADWICK (53) — Jackson 0 1-2 1, Guerin 7 7-10 22, Little 10 0-0 20, Nalley 1 1-2 4, Loveland 1 0-0 2, Burkhart 0 0-2 0, Michael 0 0-1 0, Gilbert 1 2-2 4.
Niangua 7 8 6 8 - 29
Chadwick 15 12 14 12 - 53
3-point goals - Callaway, Guerin, Nalley.
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