By Mike Phillips
After years of downtrodden teams, there are some glimmers of hope for the La Monte Lady Vikings basketball team.
John Curry, in his first year as the Lady Vikings head coach but certainly no stranger to varsity coaching, has taken over a young team that gave Kansas City Lutheran fits in a Mid-State Conference game Monday night at La Monte.
Coming off a 2-23 season last year and not having won a Kaysinger Conference game in over three years, the Lady Vikings led twice Monday night before losing 41-34 to the Lady Knights.
The difference in the game came in the third quarter when Lutheran turned nine offensive rebounds into 12 points to take a 33-28 lead into the final quarter.
Curry used his timeouts effectively and the Lady Vikings learned from the fundamental approach pointed out by Curry.
Trailing 5-2 early in the first, La Monte got within 5-4 on a basket by Cathy Butts. Lutheran went on a 6-1 run to lead 11-5 but La Monte closed the gap to 13-10 after one quarter.
La Monte kept battling, taking their first lead at 16-15 on a bucket by Butts and stretched the lead to 18-15 on a basket by Madison Harris.
The two teams went into the half tied at 20-20, likely the first time La Monte had been tied at the half for several seasons.
The Lady Vikings, 0-2 overall, 0-1 in the Kaysinger and 0-1 in the Mid State, kept it close early in the third, taking their second lead at 23-22 on a basket by Butts.
However, Lutheran controlled the boards, getting a lot of second and third-shot opportunities and led 33-28 after three periods.
Lutheran led 36-29 midway through the fourth quarter. But instead of folding the tent, the Lady Vikings fought back. When senior Katie Rodriguez nailed a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner La Monte was within 36-34 with four minutes left in the game.
However, the Lady Vikings went scoreless the rest of the way.
At times, Curry had five freshmen on the floor – Harris, Vada DeMotte, Sandra Arroyo, McKayla Griffin and Erin Warner. That gives La Monte plenty of hope for the future of their program.
All of those girls moved up from last year’s undefeated Junior High Lady Viking team.
Lauren Hick led Lutheran with 13 points and Sierra Grimm added 11.
Butts and Harris both scored 10 for La Monte. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.