MCHS girls fall in Hermann tournament final

By Theo Tate
Posted 2/2/23

When she hit a 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter against Owensville in the Hermann Invitational Tournament championship game, Maddy Queathem was getting ready to …

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MCHS girls fall in Hermann tournament final


When she hit a 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter against Owensville in the Hermann Invitational Tournament championship game, Maddy Queathem was getting ready to celebrate.

The Montgomery County junior thought that her team was going to leave Gasconade County with its first Hermann tournament championship.

But Owensville spoiled the party.

The Dutchgirls came back from a six-point deficit to beat the Wildcats 50-48 and to win their third straight Hermann tournament championship, making them the third team to accomplish that feat.

“It sucks getting second,” Queathem said. “It always hurts to lose, but we played a hard-fought game. We played pretty well. It just doesn’t always turn out your way.”

MCHS, which dropped to 15-5, turned in a second-place tournament finish for the third time this season. The Wildcats also were runner-ups at the Montgomery County Invitational and South Callaway Tournament. They lost in the championship games in all three tournaments by a combined total of 10 points.

“They played their hearts out every night,” MCHS coach Joe Basinger said. “They leave everything on the floor. They defend at an extremely high level. They take care of the ball on offense. We still got some work to do there. But it sucks that we can’t get over the hump and get one of these done. But I truly believe that our opportunity is going to come again and, hopefully, we’re ready for it.”

The Wildcats played in the tournament finals at Hermann for the first time. They had a third-place finish in 2004 and won the consolation title six times.

“To come down here and compete and do it the way we did it at this level, it’s special,” Basinger said. “I wish we could have pulled it out.”

MCHS, the No. 4 seed, advanced to the championship game by upsetting top-seeded Battle 49-41 in the semifinals on Jan. 24. The night before, the Wildcats topped fifth-seeded Hermann 42-30 in the first round.

“To be honest, I didn’t think that many people expected us to be in this championship game,” Queathem said. “So it’s kind of nice to prove people wrong. When we played Battle, we started off pretty rough. But we came together as a team. We took it play-by-play and played in the present and did our thing and ended up coming back and winning that game.”

In the championship game, MCHS led 40-34 after Queathem hit a 3-pointer with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, forcing Basinger to pump up the MCHS fan section.

“I thought when she hit that, we were in a really good spot,” Basinger said. “I really thought we could maybe ice the game out.”

But Owensville, the No. 2 seed, came back with an 11-2 run to take a 45-42 lead and never trailed the rest of the game. The Dutchgirls forced four MCHS turnovers during their big run.

“It’s tough,” Basinger said. “The kids were out there trying to make plays. Those will come back and haunt you.”

MCHS senior Carson Flake had a chance to win the game for the Wildcats as time expired with a half-court shot attempt, but it was no good.

“I thought it was in when it left her hand,” Basinger said. “It caught the front iron and missed. It would have been an awesome way to win a game. But it wasn’t meant to be.”

Malia Rodgers, the Wildcats’ lone representative on the all-tournament team, scored 15 points with three 3-pointers before fouling out with 36 seconds left. Olivia Shaw finished with 12 points and Queathem added 11 with a pair of 3-pointers.

Queathem, who earned all-Eastern Missouri Conference honors last year, is enjoying another strong season for the Wildcats, leading the team with 44 three-pointers and averaging 10 points per game. Earlier in the season, she hit a school-record six treys against Wellsville-Middletown.

The junior said despite the heartbreaking loss to Owensville, she’s happy to be part of a winning team this winter. The Wildcats have clinched their sixth straight winning season.

“This team is my family,” Queathem said. “These coaches are my family. It’s just that I love this team and I enjoy every bit that I get to spend with them.”


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