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  • Val T.

Miami County Invite girls recap: Scales’ double-double, Douglass’ FT lead Lady Comets to 4th straight title

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


The Caston girls basketball team celebrates with the trophy after defeating North Miami 40-37 at Peru High School Thursday in the Miami County Invitational championship game. Team members raised four fingers to signify their fourth consecutive tournament title.


PERU — Just one day after players on the Maconaquah girls basketball team purposely fouled Caston freshman point guard Madi Douglass because they wanted her to shoot free throws, Douglass was at the line with the game on the line.

This time, she was ready, sinking the go-ahead free throw with 2:33 left as part of a 14-point night as the Lady Comets beat North Miami 40-37 at Peru’s Tig-Arena in the Miami County Invitational championship game Thursday.

Isabel Scales led Caston with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and she joined Douglass on the all-tournament team.

Scales had eight of Caston’s 11 second-half points, and she had the assist on the only field goal she did not score, finding Macee Hinderlider on a weak-side cut for a layup in the final minute to complete the scoring.

When she was not scoring or dishing out crucial assists, Scales was yanking down crucial rebound after crucial rebound in traffic.

“That’s what she does,” Caston coach Josh Douglass said. “She’s just a rebounding beast. I think by the time she graduates, she’s going to own every rebounding record there is at Caston.”

Kaiden Hanley shook off early foul trouble and led North Miami with 15 points, and freshman post Kayden Donaldson had 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out challenging Douglass on a 15-foot jumper from near the foul line.

An errant pass from Hinderlider in the right corner intended for Alexa Finke that Kiearra Springer stole led to North Miami coach Lori Working calling her final timeout.

The clock indicated 3.8 seconds left. After officials conferred, they reset the clock to 5.2 seconds.

North Miami inbounded the ball along the right sideline and advanced it to the right corner, but Laney Musall’s contested 3-pointer from the right corner was an air ball as time expired.

Class 1A, No. 2 Caston improved to 15-0, and the senior group of Scales, Addison Zimpleman, Hinderlider, Finke and Annie Harsh finished their career with four straight Miami County titles. This also marked the second straight year that Caston pulled off the Cass County Invitational-Miami County Invitational double.

North Miami fell to 6-6. They have not won the Miami County Invitational since 2019.

But they did take a 35-34 lead on Hanley’s 3-pointer with 5:12 left from the right wing. It capped a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter and eradicated what had been a nine-point deficit in the second quarter.

It also marked the first time since the season opener against Argos that Caston had trailed at any point in the second half.

Caston reassumed the lead when Zimpleman found Scales in the lane for a short jumper with 4:37 left.

A Scales free throw with 3:06 left gave Caston a two-point lead, but Musall, who finished with eight points, tied it with a jumper from the left elbow with 2:55 left.

Then Donaldson fouled Douglass, who went to the line.

“It was kind of pressured, but I knew that as a team, no matter what happened, we’d fight through it and get through whatever happens,” Madi Douglass said. “It hasn’t been the most consistent percentage. Let’s go with that. But it feels pretty good. I just know I’ve just got to get out between my own two ears. That’s what they say. If I can stay out of my head, it’s not too bad.”

After Douglass made her first free throw, she missed her second, but a held ball ensued going for the rebound, and Caston maintained possession.

Douglass made just two of nine free throws in Caston’s 48-40 win over Maconaquah in the first round on Wednesday. In fact, Maconaquah coach Ray Davis appeared to order his players to purposely foul Douglass in the final two minutes to try and extend the game.

“I’m good friends with Ray, and I like Ray a lot, and Ray’s like, ‘Our goal was to foul your daughter,’ and I said, ‘I would too,’” coach Douglass said. “She struggled at the beginning of the year, and then she hit them there in the middle, and the other night, she struggled again. After our walk-through today, we stuck around, and we shot several free throws afterwards, and I just talked to her and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to knock them down when it comes time,’ and she did. She stepped up, and she hit the one, and the second one was in and out, and it bounced around, and we got the jump ball off it, so in a way, it was a good miss because it ended up being our ball still. But I’m proud of her for just stepping up there. Sometimes you’ve just got to hit one, and that was the most important one.”

Harsh stepped out of bounds, but Hanley missed an off-balance jumper as the game had become a furious defensive dog fight.

Caston kept their defensive rules simple: Play a 1-3-1 zone after made shots and play a 2-3 zone off misses. They also mixed in some possessions of pressure.

Caston went on a 10-2 run covering the first and second quarters to build a 19-11 lead. Douglass had gone six consecutive games since she last scored in double figures, but she had nine in the second quarter alone in this game, including 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter.

“It just kind of happened,” Madi Douglass said. “I went out and I guess I was just feeling it. I was ready to go, and I knew that we would have to do whatever it takes to pull this one off. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy win. I knew it would be a battle, and so I just think we had to go out and do whatever it took.”

North Miami would get back within 19-16 on a Hanley turnaround in the lane and a Musall trey from the left corner, but a Harsh 3-pointer and a Douglass transition layup got the lead back up to 27-18.

North Miami would get back within 29-23 on freshman Laina Kling’s banker with four seconds left in the half, and when Victoria Masters found Hanley for a left corner 3 less than 30 seconds into the second half, the lead was down to 29-26.

The teams will meet again at Caston on Jan. 18 in their regular season meeting. Next year, they will be Hoosier North rivals.

This marked Caston’s sixth straight game away from home and their seventh school bus trip for a game in December. They have another road game next Thursday at Culver.

“It’s the end of December, and we’ve been on the road so much this month,” coach Douglass said. “We’re just maybe tired, a little fatigued. Now we get to regroup and regenerate and get ready for the next part of the year.”

In the consolation game, Maconaquah handled Peru 47-29.

Caston 40, North Miami 37

NORTH MIAMI (37) (6-6)

Victoria Masters 1 0-0 2, Laney Musall 3 1-2 8, Laina Kling 1 0-0 2, Kaiden Hanley 6 1-3 15, Kayden Donaldson 5 0-0 10, Jlynn Piercy 0 0-0 0, Kiearra Springer 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 16 2-5 37

CASTON (40) (15-0)

Macee Hinderlider 1 0-0 2, Addison Zimpleman 1 0-2 2, Madi Douglass 5 2-4 14, Isabel Scales 5 8-10 19, Alexa Finke 0 0-0 0, Olivia Thomas 0 0-0 0, Annie Harsh 1 0-0 3

TEAM: 13 10-16 40

Three-point field goals:

North Miami 3 (Hanley 2, Musall),

Caston 4 (Douglass 2, Harsh, Scales)

Total fouls: North Miami 13, Caston 9

Fouled out: Donaldson (NM), 2:33, fourth

Turnovers: North Miami 16, Caston 16

Score by quarters

North Miami 11 12 5 9 37

Caston 13 16 5 6 40


Caston’s Madi Douglass, left, and Isabel Scales received medals for making the all-Miami County Invitational team. Scales and Douglass combined for 33 points in a 40-37 win over North Miami in the championship game Thursday. Scales also had 26 points and 10 rebounds in a 48-40 win over Maconaquah in the first round Wednesday.



Miami County Invite girls recap: Scales scores 24, Zimpleman adds 12 as Caston holds off Maconaquah


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

PERU — Isabel Scales scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Addison Zimpleman added 10 points, and the Caston girls basketball team held Maconaquah’s top scorer Miranda Stoll scoreless in the fourth quarter in a 48-40 win at Peru’s Tig-Arena in the first round of the Miami County Invitational Wednesday.

The Class 1A, No. 2 Lady Comets improved to 14-0, but this marked their first single-digit win of the season.

Maconaquah got within 39-36 and 41-38 in the fourth quarter, but they scored only two points in the final 4:22.

The first time they got within three, Caston responded with a back door play with Alexa Finke in the high post finding Macee Hinderlider cutting from the weak side for a baby jumper that extended the lead to five.

Caston’s final seven points came on free throws.

Caston made more free throws (12) than Maconaquah attempted (11).

Meanwhile, the sweet-shooting Stoll, a 5-10 senior on the verge of setting the Maconaquah school record for 3-pointers, could not free herself.

Stoll did lead the Lady Braves (7-7) with 15 points, and Bailey Carson added 14.

Maconaquah has never won the Miami County Invitational.

Maconaquah tied the game at 29 in the third quarter on a left baseline 15-footer from Carson, but Scales scored on a putback, on a 15-footer off a curl and on a 3-pointer from the right baseline in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter as Caston built a 37-32 lead.

“It was a huge sequence for us because we came out flat out of the halftime,” Caston coach Josh Douglass said. “We were flat all night for some reason, defensively and offensively. But that was huge, but you know, she’s a great player, and that’s what great players do: When your team is struggling, she stepped for us and found a way to put the ball in the hoop when we were struggling.”

Maconaquah’s defense was as if they were trying to build a wall in front of the basket to stop Scales.

“The one that she does really well, and we really tried to take things away from her, but we didn’t want her to get the ball in the paint,” Maconaquah coach Ray Davis said. “She’s really good when she catches the ball in the paint. We switched our defense up a little bit than what we normally play, and I thought we did a good job with that, but then we lost her a couple times, and I told the girls, ‘If she hits some 3s, then we’ll have to adjust,’ and she hit some 3s, and … she’s that senior four-year starter and experienced, and when it comes close to crunch time, she wants the ball in her hands, and she’s going to get to the basket, and what a lot of people don’t realize is she’s a real good offensive rebounder. … There at the end, she just wasn’t going to lose.”

Hinderlider’s bucket might also have been key as Madi Douglass was on the bench at the time with four fouls.

“What we did there is I went to a 1-4 low look because I knew ‘Bel’ could get by her girl or at least get something, and we actually hadn’t worked on that in practice very much, but they ran it exactly how we were supposed to where that back cut was there,” coach Douglass explained. It was a huge bucket. Anytime when it’s a tight game like that and you’re not taking a 15-footer or a 20-footer and you’re getting a layup, that’s huge in the sequence there.”

In the other first-round game, North Miami handled host Peru 66-44.

Caston 48, Maconaquah 40

CASTON (48) (14-0)

Macee Hinderlider 2 1-2 5, Addison Zimpleman 4 1-2 10, Madi Douglass 2 2-9 7, Isabel Scales 8 8-14 26, Alexa Finke 0 0-0 0, Olivia Thomas 0 0-0 0, Annie Harsh 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 16 12-27 48

MACONAQUAH (40) (7-7)

Addie Maiben 0 0-0 0, Hallie Maiben 0 0-0 0, Shaelyn Powell 1 2-2 4, Bailey Carson 4 3-5 14, Miranda Stoll 5 2-2 15, Aubrey Kaiser 0 0-0 0, Chloe Smyth 0 0-0 0, Sydney Barnes 3 1-2 7, Ireland Kile 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 13 8-11 40

Three-point field goals:

Caston 4 (Scales 2, Zimpleman, Douglass),

Maconaquah 6 (Carson 3, Stoll 3)

Turnovers: Caston 10, Maconaquah 9

Score by quarters

Caston 10 17 10 11 48

Maconaquah 10 11 13 6 40


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