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Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Thanks to Mother Nature and the snowstorm on Monday morning, the Lady Cubs would be forced to play three games in four days. Scheduled to play were Howard-Lake-Waverly-Winsted, St. John's Prep and Pierz. All three games were important in the Lady Cubs placement in the CMC. Both HLWW and Pierz were conference games, and with the Lady Cubs still tied for first, it was imperative that Kimball do well. The game against St. John's Prep was important because as a sub-section team, SJP needed to do well with seeding coming out Wednesday of next week. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Up first was HLWW, a team in the middle of the pack of the CMC Conference. Kimball quickly jumped into the lead using their pressure, defense and speed to lead 20-7 after the first quarter. Tammy Kuechle, Melanie Marquardt and Jenny Kunkel scored seven, six and five points respectively in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Lady Cubs scored points, but were flat defensively. HLWW was beating the team to loose balls and hustled the Lady Cubs, cutting Kimball's lead 36-24 at the half. Both teams to traded baskets during the third quarter with Kimball holding a slight edge 15-12 in the quarter, leading 51-36 after the third quarter. The score at the end of the third quarter was as close as HLWW would get; the Lady Cubs were able to find their groove and went on an unheard of 23-0 run before HLWW could compose themselves. After that amazing run, Kimball had built up their lead, 74-36. The Kimball bench played the last three-and-a-half minutes of the game. They didn't want to disappoint the starters and held HLWW to four points total in the quarter and Kimball won the game 76-40.
As a team, Kimball shot 30-50 (60 percent) from the field and 13-23 (56.6 percent) from the free-throw line. Kimball had a total of 41 rebounds, 24 assists, 12 steals and only ten turnovers. Individually, the Lady Cubs were led by Kuechle who recorded her second straight triple-double with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Other players leading the team were Kunkel with 22 points; Marquardt with 11 points, six steals; Carla Henneman with 10 points, nine rebounds; Jenna Stenger with two points; Amelia Hentges with three points; Erin Montonye with four points; and Tabitha Maus with two points. The win put the Lady Cubs at 13-1 and 9-1 in the CMC. St. John's Preparatory On Thursday, Feb. 6, St. John's Prep travelled to the Wirth Gym. SJP is a young team on -the-rise; they've won 11 games (a school record for them) and have two very good post players. Also, with sub-section seeding just around the corner, the Lady Cubs couldn't afford to let this game get away. SJP jumped to an early lead of 6-0 thanks to some cold outside shooting from Kimball. The Lady Cubs were able to erase the lead due to three-pointers by Kunkel and Kuechle and a lay-up by Marquardt. From that point on, Kimball never looked back. The Lady Cubs led 19-12 after the first quarter and were able to extend their lead 34-21 at the half. Thanks to Jenny Kunkel, who scored seven points in the quarter and also earned her 1,000th career point (watch for an article next week). The Lady Cubs came into the third quarter determined to play a better half. Their added emotion in the quarter quickly pressured SJP to turnovers and quick shots, allowing Kimball to extend their lead, 58-35. Kuechle, Marquardt and Kunkel scored six, nine and seven points in the quarter. When the game ended the Lady Cubs had their fourteenth win by a score of 76-51. As a team, Kimball was 31-69 (44.9 percent) from the field and 9-15 (60 percent) from the free-throw line. The team had 42 rebounds, 13 steals and 12 turnovers. Individually, the Lady Cubs were led by Kuechle 22 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and five steals; Marquardt 17 points; Kunkel 19 points; Montonye four points; Henneman four points, ten rebounds and five assists; Hentges six points and Maus four points. Pierz With only four conference games left, Kimball travelled to Pierz on Friday, Feb. 7. Pierz was also fighting to remain one of the top teams in the conference. They needed a victory to have any hopes of competing for the CMC title. The Lady Cubs, playing their third game in four days knew they needed to be on top of their game to get a crucial CMC win. Both teams came out on fire. Pierz hit their first four baskets, but, not wanting to be out-done, Kuechle decided to go on her own 10-point run, scoring Kimball's first 10 points. When the first quarter ended, Kimball held a slight lead of 22-19, but the game was going to change in the second quarter. Pierz remained hot with their shooting and used their size (four girls are 5'10'' or taller) to rebound the occasional missed shot and put it back up for a score. Kimball, on the other hand, could feel the rigors of their third game of the week and looked to run out of gas, scoring only nine points in the quarter. The Lady Cubs trailed Pierz by eight points at the half, 39-31. This was the biggest deficit Kimball has had all year. Their response in the second half would decide their fate. It wasn't looking good for the Lady Cubs as Pierz continued to add onto their lead. Kimball was still playing flat and frustrated. Pierz kept pounding the ball inside to take advantage of their height. Pierz led 49-37 midway through the quarter. Finally, out of nowhere, the Lady Cubs found their shooting stroke; first it was Marquardt hitting a driving lay-up in a lot of traffic and then Kuechle found a loose ball in the corner. Seeing that she was just inside the arc she took one dribble back and drained a three. On the next trip down an out-of-bounds play was used to get Marquardt a three-point attempt and she drained it. Kunkel was next using a pass from Marquardt. Kunkel hit a three-pointer and then, on the next trip down, she decided to hit another one. Within a span of only two minutes, Kimball was able to tie the game at 51-51. When the third-quarter ended Pierz held a slight 52-51 lead. The final quarter found neither team able to pull away. Kimball continued to use their hot shooting and held a slight lead going into the final minutes. However, great free-throw shooting down the stretch was the difference. Hentges hit 2-2 and Marquardt nailed 5-6 including 4-4 in the last 30 seconds. The Lady Cubs survived their trip to Pierz with a 72-67 win. Kimball now stood at 15-1 overall and 10-1 in the CMC. As a team Kimball shot 21-48 (43.7 percent) from the field, including eight three-pointers. Kimball shot 22-31 (71 percent) from the free-throw line and had a total of 34 rebounds, 15 assists, 14 steals and 10 turnovers. Individually, Kuechle led the Lady Cubs with 24 points (four three-pointers), 12 rebounds; Marquardt had 20 points, nine steals, eight assists; Kunkel had 19 points (three three-pointers), six rebounds; Montonye had four points, Henneman had three points, eight rebounds; and Hentges had two points. The Lady Cubs travelled to Melrose on Tuesday, Feb. 11 and come home for a huge match-up on Thursday, Feb. 13, against Eden Valley-Watkins. Rockford, EV-W and Kimball are all battling it out for first place in the CMC. Let's get everybody in town out for this game so the Lady Cubs can feed off the crowd's energy. Let's show EV-W some home cooking of our own.