Maryville girls basketball freshman guard Anastyn Pettlon fights through defenders amid a 51-42 win over St. Pius X in the Hound Pound Jan. 7. The win gave the 'Hounds an unblemished start to the conference portion of their schedule.

Coming out of winter break, Maryville girls basketball was determined to continue its success on the court. Following two quality wins over highly ranked teams in Missouri, the ’Hounds have earned their own place among the state’s best.

Maryville claimed the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament for the first time since 2010 after defeating East Buchanan (10-2) Dec. 30. At the time, the Bulldogs were the No. 3 team in MSHSAA’s Class 2.

In the first game of the new decade, the Spoofhounds (11-2) sent the No. 8 Warriors of St. Pius X (7-2) back to Kansas City, Missouri, with a loss. Despite their success, coach Quentin Albrecht doesn’t want the team to lose focus.

“You have to know what’s not important,” Albrecht said. “It’s not important that we are state-ranked. What is important is the next team that we play and dealing with them.”

In his fifth season at the helm of the program, Albrecht has sparked the ’Hounds to an 11-2 start. The losses came via Staley High School Dec. 5 and East Buchanan Jan. 14. Since then, Maryville has won seven of its last eight games and sits at No. 7 in Class 3.

The team’s success on the court tells its own story, but it leaves out details that complete its anecdotal season. The Spoofhounds may win like a well-oiled machine but still have kinks to work out.

“We’ve made strides in just about every area of the game this year, but we still have things we need to get better at,” Albrecht said. “We are better than we were last year at communicating, but I think that can always be improved on.”

The echoes of practice in the hallways of Maryville beckon the idea of these kinks being hammered out. With 10 of the 18 players being freshmen, there’s no surprise that the ’Hounds have a lot to straighten out.

Assistant coach Kelly Obley focuses on giving every practice purpose to continue having on-court success. “Winning the moment” is how Obley gets the girls to stay focused during game time.

“In the game, it's just to recognize that you get yourself back one possession at a time,” Obley says. “Regardless of what the scoreboard says, you have to win the moment.”

The Spoofhounds help prepare for the next game by wanting to get better. Obley notices that they come in every day with intensity, and she credits that to how their season is going. She believes that there could be a favorable ending to their season if they keep this trend up.

“Truly, I think they can make a run as deep as they’ve ever gone before,” Obley said. “It’s going to come down to what we do every day in practice and the standards we hold ourselves to.”

The girls are having a phenomenal season so far but are going to need constant support in order to keep it going. A coaching staff can only do so much for their team before its fate falls into the hands of the players.

“We’re making the players responsible for their motivation,” Albrecht said. “We truly believe that bad teams, nobody leads. Good teams, the coaches will lead. But great teams, the players will lead.”

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