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  • Val T.

Clingler’s basket helps Caston break two-decade drought against RHS

Lady Zs: 32 turnovers, 13 missed free throws


Sports Editor, RTC

It’s a game in which the paid attendance was zero.

But years from now, it might be a game in which dozens of Caston girls basketball fans will say they were at for its historical significance.

Isabel Scales scored 14 points, and Addison Zimpleman and Abby Williamson had 13 points each to lead the Lady Comets to a 57-53 win over Rochester at the RHS gym Saturday.

Jordan Clingler, who is Caston’s leading returning scorer but who was held without a point the first three quarters, scored the basket with 55 seconds left on a post turnaround to put Caston ahead for good at 55-53.

Scales split a pair of free throws with 30.4 seconds left, and Zimpleman clinched the win by splitting a pair from the line with 1.5 seconds left.

The Lady Comets screamed and mobbed each other in exhilaration when it was over. Girls basketball historical records are sketchy, but it is the first time in at least 20 years that Caston has beaten Rochester.

How unusual was the offensive outburst? Caston scored 57 or more points in a game just once last season. They beat a team in a higher class just once also.

Caston improved to 2-0. Rochester fell to 1-1.

Kaitlin Rogers hit three 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points for the Lady Zs. Emma Howdeshell tied her career-high with 16 – she also scored that many at North Judson Thursday – and Millie Scorsone added 11.

Caston led 50-41 on Maddi Smith’s 3-point play on a putback with 7:13 left. RHS responded with a 12-3 run to tie the game at 53 when Howdeshell buried a trey from the right corner.

Scorsone had a post banker off a Howdeshell assist, and Kallie Watson scored on a driving runner during the run.

But Caston got the ball inside to their senior post player. The irony of the game is that Clingler’s great contribution to the team was on defense, according to first-year Caston coach Josh Douglass.

“I feel like we are a very balanced team this year,” Douglass said. “If you look at the scorebook, we’re probably pretty balanced. But the things she did on defense, the way she slid over and helped, the rebounds, the deflections, those are like points to me.”

As for the Lady Zs, they committed 32 turnovers and made just 11 of 24 free throws. But coach Brian Jennings also lamented more than that.

“They were better defensively,” Jennings said. “They made all the hustle plays, and we weren’t aggressive tonight. We didn’t read the defense well in our offense. We forced things. We threw up wild shots. Maybe two people would run the play correctly, and the other three were in the wrong position.

“I’m going to give Caston a lot of credit. They played their defense well. They executed their offense. They outplayed us all night long. But we also played extremely poorly. But Caston deserved to win this game today.”

RHS led 26-23 at halftime and extended the lead to 31-24 on a Rogers 3-pointer and a Scorsone press break layup in the third quarter.

Then the sharpshooting sophomore Williamson took over. Williamson, who had only 24 points in her varsity career prior to Saturday, followed a Bailey Harness short jumper by sinking a 3 on a press break from the right wing to cut the lead to 31-29.

With Caston trailing 35-31, Williamson scored on a driving runner. A Zimpleman transition layup tied the game, and a Williamson transition layup gave Caston a 37-35 lead. Then came a Williamson 3-pointer from the left wing.

Kami Burkett made a free throw for the Lady Zs, but a Scales long 2-pointer from the left corner and a Zimpleman putback ended the Caston carnage: a 20-5 run that turned a seven-point deficit into a 44-36 lead.

“We’ve been talking about floor spacing, and we had good floor spacing,” Douglass said. “And we have some shooters. The idea is to keep that floor spaced and to keep that ball moving. And when it goes inside out, those are great shots. They’ve got the green light.”

Williamson hit a 3-pointer in a 37-21 win over Argos Thursday.

“We really needed it, and the last game wasn’t the best, so I am really glad I was able to hit those,” Williamson said.

Douglass is in his first season at Caston, but he had eight winning seasons in a 10-year stint at Riverton Parke from 2008-18.

“We’ve just got to focus on defense,” Williamson said. “That’s what our coach tells us: Defense wins the game, and we really just pulled through. … Our last coach, he didn’t focus as much on that. And we were more on you’ve got to get a shot up. But with him, defense is really winning the game for us.”

RHS had their chances after Clingler’s basket. Rogers missed a 3 that could have given the Lady Zs the lead.

RHS committed a turnover on an errant pass in the post in the final 30 seconds while trailing 56-53.

And after Scales missed two free throws with 15.7 seconds left, they had another chance to tie after calling timeout with 8.5 seconds left, but Kallie Watson missed a 3.

Emily Hughes, who sat out the North Judson game, made her season debut. She started and scored three points on a 3-pointer in the first half. Kennedy Jackson missed the game due to a family funeral.

“We’re giving up 65 points a game,” Jennings said. “You’re not going to win many games doing that.”

Caston also won the JV game 28-26. Alexa Finke and Annie Harsh had eight points each to lead Caston. RHS’ KYlie Coleman scored a game-high 10.

Caston 57, Rochester 53

CASTON (57) (2-0)

Isabel Scales 2 10-14 14, Addison Zimpleman 6 1-2 13, Bailey Harness 2 2-2 6, Maddi Smith 1 6-12 8, Jordan Clingler 1 0-0 2, Kinzie Mollenkopf 0 0-0 0, Brianna Yarber 0 1-2 1, Abby Williamson 5 0-0 13

TEAM: 17 20-32 57

ROCHESTER (53) (1-1)

Kami Burkett 0 1-2 1, Emma Howdeshell 6 2-6 16, Emily Hughes 1 0-2 3, Kaitlin Rogers 6 2-4 17, Lexy Thomas 1 1-2 3, Kallie Watson 1 0-2 2, Kim Batten 0 0-0 0, Sydney Haughs 0 0-0 0, Millie Scorsone 3 5-6 11

TEAM: 18 11-24 53

Three-point field goals:

Caston 3 (Williamson 3),

Rochester 6 (Rogers 3, Howdeshell 2, Hughes)

Total fouls: Caston 20, Rochester 24

Turnovers: Caston 23, Rochester 32

Score by quarters

Caston 11 12 24 10 57

Rochester 11 15 13 14 53

JV: Caston 28, Rochester 26

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