OKAY, OK —
The past several years, Chouteau girls basketball hasn’t been where it used to be. The Ladycats have struggled in recent years and would often find themselves over-matched and mentally defeated early in their games.
If Saturday’s season-opening win was any indicator, this is not the Ladycat basketball of old.
Junior Karlee Alberty knocked down a mid-range jumper at the buzzer, giving the Ladycats a 53-51, nail-biting win over the Lady Mustangs of Okay.
Sophomore Allison Grossman stepped just inside the 3-point arc and drained a long two to tie the game at 51 with just four seconds left to play in the game. After the score, Okay turned the ball over on the inbounds play, giving the Ladycats the ball under their basket with just 2.4 seconds left.
Chouteau inbounded the ball to Grossman. Grossman couldn’t get a shot off, so she kicked it to Alberty for the game-winner.
“I didn't think it would go in at all, but then it did,” said Alberty. “Without Allison knocking down that big [shot] to tie us up, I wouldn't have been able to take that shot and finish for my team.”
“All I knew was that we had to score,” said Grossman. "I knocked down the 3 and next thing I knew it was our ball. I caught the ball and knew I couldn’t shoot it so I dished it to Karlee and I was hoping it would go in.”
Grossman hit a three that put the Ladycats (1-0) up by nine, 42-33, with 6:50 to go in the game. However, Okay would not relent, going 8-of-13 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone. Chouteau went ice-cold at the line, missing six in a row at one point.
Okay’s Kiedra Whiteday hit a layup with 2:15 to go, giving the Lady Mustangs a 49-48 lead — their first since late in the second quarter.
However, Chouteau never gave up or quit, and kept fighting for the ball. Alexis Cantu and Victoria Espinoza racked up a combined ten rebound and forced numerous turnovers.
The Ladycats looked like a completely different team compared to teams from past years.
“All our hard work paid off,” said Grossman. “That’s Ladycat basketball.”
Alsip leads 'Cats to 57-48 win
In the Chouteau boys' season-opener, Arlis Alsip led the Wildcats to a 57-48 win over Okay. The Wildcats never trailed in the game, as they jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead and never looked back.
Although Okay did tie the game in the third quarter, Chouteau (1-0) rallied back and put the game away late in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Champ Bridges, making his first high school start, had 13 points. Alsip led the Wildcats with 21 points, and Trenton Pierce added nine.
Chouteau shot 57 percent from the field, was 7-of-17 from beyond the arc and was 10-of-12 (83%) from the free throw line.
The Wildcats got nice bench play from Colton Hunter and Emeory Phillips. Hunter chipped in four points and Phillips added four points and eight boards.
The Wildcats and Ladycats are now off until Dec. 3, when they will host county rival Salina.