CARTERVILLE — The Carterville girls basketball team made school history in its game against Nashville on Thursday night.
The Lions defeated the Hornettes, 53-40, and won the SIRR Mississippi Division championship outright for the first time.
“It means a lot to me, but it’s going to mean a lot to the kids when they’re our age,” said Carterville coach Matt Crain. “To do something first, that’s special. It’s something you can always look up at and see that banner and know they did that. I think that’s the first time Nashville hasn’t shared it in many years, and they have a great program. I’m very proud of our girls.”
Carterville (21-3, 8-0) built a nine-point lead in the third quarter when Megan Barrett sank two free throws. The Carterville senior reached 1,000 career points on those two shots.
“We got to kill two birds with one stone there,” Crain said. “Megan was a little nervous there, but once she got it the weight of the world kind of came off her. She got some big steals and assists and kind of broke the game open for us.”
Karly Stanowski scored in the paint as Nashville sliced its deficit to just 36-32 with 4:51 left in the game. The Hornettes (19-6, 5-3) made seven 3-pointers, but didn’t have quite enough to overcome Carterville’s transition offense.
“They are so fast, and they get those leads on you, and they’re hard to catch,” said Nashville coach Doug Althoff. “You just have to keep plugging away and playing defense. I thought our defense was okay. You have to tip your cap. They’re a pretty good team, and if they get ahead of you, they’re hard to handle.”
Paige Kasten sank back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter, which gave Nashville a 10-8 advantage. But Hanna Schulmeister started a 10-0 Carterville run with a triple, and Montana Taylor finished it with a made jump shot.
Taylor finished with 16 points for Carterville.
“That may be the best game she’s had since she’s been here,” Crain said of Taylor. “It was her best game of the year. She hit big shots, and she carried us for a while in this game. We wouldn’t have won without her tonight.”
Schulmeister added 13 points for Carterville, and Jeniah Thompson contributed 10. Janie Holle paced Nashville with 10 points, and Kasten tallied nine.