This season’s Niangua Lady Cardinals basketball squad can be described in one word; strong. The Lady Cardinals are currently sitting at 9-6 on the season, though the team only has five total players available to take the court each game.
Playing four 8-minute quarters, the girls on the team do not receive any substitutions. The only break from the back and forth are the time outs head coach Clinton Gazette calls and the minutes between quarters.
The team consists of five Lady Cardinals and each bring their own ingredient that helps create the team. The leadership from the two seniors, role players that do their job, and then you have dynamic scorers that fit to create the Niangua girls basketball team.
Senior Ashton Stuber is the Lady Cardinals silent assassin according to Coach Gazette, you don’t know she has scored 20 points until you look at the book.
“Ashton does a good job of playing me on the court,” explained Gazette. “When things are going a certain way I can call a play and she can call a play and her play overrides mine. She is on the court and she knows what is going on and what we need to do. She is one of the toughest point guards I have had and she will take on anybody.”
Kaydance Knifong is a senior for the Lady Cardinals and can be said to be the voice of the team. She takes charge in practices as well as on the court while being a defensive backbone.
“Kaydance always takes on the role of shutting a girl down,” mentioned Gazette. “She stays in front of her man and when she finds a team getting into a pattern she reads it. She is really good on knowing what is about to happen when it comes to defense.”
Addison Terry, junior, is one of Gazette’s toughest kids on the team. She is battling back issues and should be taking breaks to releive the pain but every game she goes out and plays as if nothing is wrong.
“She goes out there and plays she doesn’t complain. She just does her job,” said Gazette. “She isn’t going to go out there and score 40 points a game but she does her part and gets her job done.”
Alyson Petty is another junior for the Lady Cardinals that is down at the post for the girls. Coach Gazette described her as the calm one.
“She never says anything and she just does her job,” stated Gazette. “Some nights she will score 7 or 8 points and some nights she will shut down the opposing teams post player.”
Ashtyn Callaway, sophomore, is the Lady Cardinals shooter. Callaway can score at all three levels, shooting three’s and fishing in the paint. Coach Gazette mentioned that she is one of the primary ball handlers that can break through just about any press.
“She is nonstop,” added Gazette. “From the opening tip to the end of the game she will play as humanly hard as possible than any other kid out there. She is a different breed out there.”
Coach Gazette added that the team bickers like sisters, though while they may do so, they still come together to get the job done. The team never stops playing and continues to gradually excel as the season progresses.
“The thing that works so well is that we have unselfish players,” Coach Gazette mentioned. “They don’t care who gets it, they just want to get it. It takes all five of them to get there. There have been nights where two people have done all of the scoring and the other three don’t care. They don’t get jealous over that. At the end of the day they just want to see the scoreboard saying that Niangua has more points than guests.”
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