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Freshman Lauren Cullin prepares for a free throw assisting in their 61-33 win against Bishop LeBlond Jan. 17 in Maryville.

With the end of the season on the horizon, Maryville girls basketball is tasked with a competitive schedule before districts.

The Spoofhounds (11-5) will make three 73-mile bus trips to Cameron for their final tournament of the season. To open up the series, Maryville was faced with Higginsville, the Class 3 District 15 champion last year.

The Spoofhounds walked away with a 64-47 win led by star sophomore Serena Sundell’s 34 points. Sundell shot 56 percent from the field and collected five steals and six boards.

Coach Quentin Albrecht said the teams involved with this year’s invitational make the contest a bit more interesting.

“This tournament is even more competitive this year with the addition of Smithville (No. 2 seed) which is a 4-A team,” Albrecht said. “Chillicothe is the No. 1 seed and they have earned it; they play a tough schedule and have a good record. Lawson is athletic and so well coached. I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Lisa Glenn and her program.”

Sundell broke her own school record for points in a single game (36) in a home win against Bishop LeBlond Jan. 18. That was just the fourth game at the ‘Hound Pound this year for the Spoofhounds.

With having so many games on the road, senior Emma Baldwin said the important thing about road games is getting into a routine.

“It’s definitely hard to get used to because you think you’d have more home games in a season but you just have to not let that get to you,” Baldwin said. “You just have to get rest and get food. You just kind of get used to it and get into a routine.”

Marville only has five games left on its schedule including four MEC schools (Chillicothe, Benton, Cameron and Savannah) and three of the final five contests occur at home. Albrecht explained while the weather has been a burden for the ‘Hounds, it has affected the other teams as well.

“We have missed a couple of practice opportunities but so have most of our opponents, so it is really a wash,” Albrecht said. “On the positive side, we play a limited number of players so the girls get time to freshen their legs, rest and get caught up on school work.”

The weather has provided ample opportunities for the girls to get primed for the end of the season. Baldwin said most of her downtime comes on the weekend.

“I catch up with a lot of my rest on the weekends,” Baldwin said. “Someone asks me to go somewhere I’m just like ‘nah.’ I just want to stay home. I just want to relax. Right after school I try and go home and do homework and get some food.”

The Spoofhounds have a great opportunity ahead of them heading into districts. Last year, Maryville lost to eventual district champion Hamilton in the second round. With all the improvements that have been made this year, Albrecht said the expectations for the postseason are high.

“We expect to not only compete for the district title, but our goal is to win it,” Albrecht said. “We have to become more consistent, not only from game to game but within games themselves. We have to shoot the ball with more consistency and not take plays off on defense.”

Final results from the Cameron Invitational were unavailable upon the time of publication.

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