By Jake Thompson
Hendricks County Flyer
SPEEDWAY — For the Cascade girls’ basketball team, returning to the Speedway gym has plenty of bad sectional memories and the Cadets added another on Saturday.
After defeating West Central Conference rival Monrovia in the regular season, the Bulldogs avenged that loss with a 55-41 win over the Cadets. Cascade coach Don Helmick said a long layoff coupled with Friday night’s delay certainly didn’t help his team.
“We looked a step slow and have had one game in three weeks,” Helmick said. “We were just not here for most of the game. We were in it for spurts.”
Roxanna Gaddis led Cascade with 16 points and Sydney Stein tallied 13, however, early on the pair was the only Cadets to score until late in the half.
Cascade’s Audra Smallwood hit a basket with 1:49 remaining in the second quarter to pull the Cadets within four points at 20-16.
At the break, Cascade trailed Monrovia 22-20.
“We told them at halftime that we never said Stein had to score every point and for some reason they kept forcing it to her,” Helmick said. “That’s a concern when you only have two girls scoring and then they clamp the defense down on them, well, someone had to step up. We had girls willing to do that, but we didn’t hit the shots.”
Cascade forced Monrovia’s two biggest inside weapons — Raven Delph and Kristal Smith — out by the end of the half with three fouls each, but the Bulldogs’ teammates answered in their absence.
“They hit some shots and had some girls step up that ordinarily aren’t as consistent,” Helmick said.
Monrovia outscored Cascade 13-7 in the third including an important 7-0 run to close the quarter when the Cadets closed to within four points.
Stein was leading the team in scoring headed to the fourth and picked up her fifth foul with 7:45 remaining. Cascade scrambled at a frantic pace at both ends, but could not find consistent offense down the stretch.
Cascade loses four seniors — Stein, Gaddis, Mallorie Smith and Audra Smallwood — and their contributions will be difficult to replace. The group was the first in Helmick’s 14-year tenure that finished all four years with a conference title and winning seasons to show for their efforts.
“You want to win these games and create some good memories, but in the whole scheme of things, it’s to be a student-athlete first and those four girls are student-athletes first and something the school can be proud of,” Helmick said. “I told them unless you win a state title, you would have this feeling somewhere along the line.”