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  • Val T.

While remembering ‘surreal’ home regional, Caston’s practice focuses on Marquette Catholic


Sports Editor, RTC

The Caston girls basketball team accepts the regional trophy following its 44-29 win over Bethany Christian Saturday. The regional title is the first in school history. (photo provided by Dee Brown)

FULTON — After the Caston girls basketball team arrived back home from South Newton following its 58-17 win over the host Lady Rebels in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 semifinal on Feb. 2, freshman point guard Madi Douglass went to the gym and shot 100 free throws.

The days of being normal are all over for the Lady Comets.

Now practices are focused on the details of Marquette Catholic, Caston’s opponent in a Class 1A Frankfort semistate semifinal at approximately noon Saturday.

“The first 10 minutes of practice every day will be the most normal thing you’ll see, but after that, everything today was preparation for the semistate game,” Caston coach Josh Douglass said. “During the season, it’s so hard to prepare for the next team, the next team, the next team because you only get a day. When you get three to four days to prepare for a team, usually we work on drilling it and then we ended up practicing it, so you get a whole feel for it. So today was very much a tournament-type practice compared to the middle of the season or the end of the season.”

“Today was strictly let’s be preparing to our best ability for Marquette,” senior guard Addison Zimpleman said. “Everything has a purpose, and each practice, we have a specific game plan for what we’re going to do.”

Caston is coming off a 44-29 win over Bethany Christian in the regional.

The Lady Comets are allowing 30.2 points per game, which ranks second in the state behind Lewis Cass. Their defensive average is down to 29.8 ppg in four postseason games.

Against Bethany Christian, the defense switched on high ball screens, now allowing for breathing room for point guard Mariah Stoltzfus, who was held to six points and made just two of 10 shots.

Zoe Willems led Bethany with 20 points, but she made just six of 18 shots.

“I feel like we really focused on being able to get over the screens and switching that, and so it really helped us when it came to that and stopping her,” freshman point guard Madi Douglass said.

Meanwhile, on offense, the ball moved quickly from side to side to force Bethany’s defense into scramble mode.

“I thought it was pretty good,” Zimpleman said. “I mean, there’s always room for improvement.”

Coach Josh Douglass was even more complimentary of the ball movement.

“The ball movement is back to what it was at the beginning of the year,” coach Douglass said. “We’re seeing things quicker, moving quicker, and we’re getting really good shots for each other.”

Coach Douglass was asked why the ball movement had not been as sharp lately. The team went 1-3 in their last four regular season games.

“I think it’s just a long basketball season,” coach Douglass said. “You know how that is. Dog days of winter. You get tired, school, you battle sickness, just now everybody’s back on the same page 100%.”

Winning the sectional gave the team one last home game for the regional.

The team lost to Carroll (Flora) 45-31 on Jan. 24 in their final regular season home game, so the regional gave them a second chance to make one final outstanding impression to their home fans.

“It’s nice that you can end on a high note on your home court,” Zimpleman said. “Our last game that we played on our home court wasn’t what we wanted, but just seeing the love and support coming from our students and just the community will always be remembered.”

Madi Douglass said she took a moment to admire the crowd when she walked out of the locker room.

“Being on the home court and that crowd being even double what we normally would see, I know that coming out of the locker room, I just had to stand there for a second and admire all the red in the stands,” Madi Douglass said.

They have not taken for granted the support they have received.

They even posed for photos with senior student Edison Byrum, who dressed like Moses parting the “red sea” of the Caston student section, all of whom were wearing crimson-colored shirts.

“It’s just been a surreal moment, just seeing the community and people behind us, to see the overflowing support, especially from the students and staff and just people within the community is just amazing,” Zimpleman said.

“I know every day we get ‘congrats’ or ‘good luck this weekend’ or ‘you got this’ or ‘we believe in you,’” Madi Douglass said. “It’s just really great to hear, and they’re watching us, they’re supporting us, and they’re following us all the way.”

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