HAMILTON, Mo- Maryville girls basketball finds itself in the second round of the district tournament for the first time in coach Quentin Albrecht’s tenure after a 30-28 win over Brookfield Feb. 19.
The Spoofhounds (11-13) controlled the pace as well as most of the game. Both teams started slow on President’s Day as the two squads only combined for six points in the first quarter. After a better scoring second quarter, Maryville took a 14-9 lead into the locker room.
“It was closely contested, which we knew it would be coming in,” Albrecht said. “We expected it to be a 10 point game one way or the other.”
Albrecht’s expectations proved to be true. The Spoofhounds took a four-point lead into the final quarter of play, but watched it disappear in a matter of five minutes.
Enter the Serena Sundell show. The star freshman drained a 3-pointer with less than 1 minute and 30 seconds remaining in the game to knot things up. In the final moments of the game, fans around the gymnasium could hear Albrecht echoing voice encouraging his group to “have fun.”
“I don’t know if it was fun, it was a little nerve racking there at the end, but if you can’t have fun while you play the game then you probably ought not play,” Albrecht said. “We’re a little under the weather right now and I was proud of the girls the way they were able to overcome some obstacles and pull out a win.”
After a defensive stop and a timeout, Sundell was fouled before she shot and with one second to go, Sundell went to the charity stripe for a one and one, and a chance to win the game.
She hit both. Like a shark tasting blood, Sundell said her plan down the stretch was to attack the Bulldogs defense by any means possible.
“I just wanted to be aggressive,” Sundell said. “I knew they were in the bonus so I tried to draw a foul and knock down both free throws.”
This isn’t the first time Sundell has been at the line with the game at her hands. A few weeks ago the freshman hit four-straight free throws to beat district opponent East Buchanan. When it comes to the clutch department, Sundell explained it all goes back to the basics.
“I said earlier that I knew I could do it, I knew it was possible,” Sundell said. “I just have to think back to mechanics, envisioning myself making it, confidence and see it go through the net.”
Maryville is no stranger to close games as nine of the Spoofhounds 24 games this season have been decided by five points or less. Out of the 13 Maryville losses, five of them were by less than five points.
With the game on the line, Albrecht had all the confidence in his freshman point guard as she toed the line for what proved to be the final shots of the game. This year Sundell has been an 80 percent free throw shooter and there was no one better for the moment.
As woman of few words, Sundell described moving on to the second round of district play in two words, “it’s exciting.” Her coach, on the other hand, had more to say.
“None of these girls have won a district game so they’re excited about that,” Albrecht said. “We talked to them and said half of the teams in Class 3 are turning in their uniforms tomorrow and we’re a part of the half that’s not.”
Maryville now embarks on new territory and sets its sights on the hosts of the tournament. The Spoofhounds lost to Hamilton by four when they played in Maryville Jan. 16 by a score of 64-60. Sundell said in few words, this time will be different.
“Hamilton is a big game,” Sundell said. “I think we can take them.”