After a congested week of high-level matchups, Maryville girls basketball (12-1) was gifted with a break from competition. This hiatus came after the Spoofhounds’ Jan. 21 matchup against Bishop LeBlond (12-4) was postponed to Feb. 3 due to COVID-19 related issues.
Coach Quentin Albrecht was glad to give his girls a much needed break after previously playing such a dense schedule, including four games in six days.
“I think the girls really needed it,” Albrecht said. “I think after that long week last week and going down to Hamilton (Penney), I think the little break is going to be good for us. I don’t think a few days of no competition is a bad thing.”
Even teams on a hot streak like Maryville can’t escape the inevitable mid-season aches and pains. With a few days off, Albrecht said his team will be ready to play in time for this season’s Cameron Tournament Jan. 25-30 in Cameron, Missouri.
Senior forward Emily Cassavaugh used her days off to rehab her shoulder and increase her basketball intelligence, specifically on a day with heavy snowfall.
“Since we couldn’t get in the gym, I was just watching some film,” Cassavaugh said. “I saw what I could improve on. I saw other teams and what I can do to prepare for them.”
In last year’s tournament, the ’Hounds fought their way to the championship game, but narrowly lost to Smithville. This year, Maryville enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed and hopes to complete a goal set at the beginning of the year.
“We’ve set a goal to win every tournament we go to,” Albrecht said. “We were fortunate to win the Savannah Tournament. We went out to the Holiday Tournament at Doane in Crete, Nebraska, and won that, so they want to win this one.”
With complications related to the coronavirus, the tournament field was reduced to five teams. Accompanying Maryville, the Cameron Tournament will host Smithville, Chillicothe, Cameron, and Northeast (Kansas City) which are seeded second through fifth, respectively.
“Unexpectedly, one of the teams got taken out, but I still feel like there’s a lot of competition,” Cassavaugh said. “The Cameron Tournament has always been good competition with a lot of good teams in it.”
With the tournament being played as single-elimination, the ’Hounds will have a good chance at simulating the feeling of postseason action without the implications of postseason games. Despite this type of tournament play, Cassavaugh is taking these games no differently than she would outside of a tournament.
“I view these games the same way,” Cassavaugh said. “I just know that if we lose, we don’t get to play another game, and you always want to play a game. I always play as hard as I can and just hope that we win or do whatever we need to get further.”
Maryville aims to continue its hot streak by way of a Cameron Tournament trophy, but it won’t be easy with the teams the Spoofhounds potentially have to face. However, Albrecht has confidence that his team can get the job done.
“They’ve had a little time, but the girls are always ready to go,” Albrecht said. “It’s a really good tournament, and I think anybody can win it. However, if we can play like we have been, I feel pretty good about our chances.”