PARSONS – Mattilyn Cranor played the passing lanes like there was no tomorrow. Her creating this defensive havoc had a domino effect for the Chanute Lady Blue Comets, as the only undefeated team in the SEK propelled to a 71-31 win over Parsons High School on Tuesday night in Parsons.
Cranor finished the game with 14 points, seven steals and three rebounds. Kori Babcock recorded 16 points, six steals and six rebounds. And Jacey Lewis produced 15 points, three steals and two rebounds.
This type of production led to Chanute winning six straight games.
Cranor said her team was in constant communication all night, and it really helped her in knowing where to go.
“It helps because over the past few games, I’ve communicated a lot more, and I’m being able to see the court a lot better by doing that. So cheering on my teammates and seeing the court a lot better, I can help read the ball where they pass. It’s all about faking the pass to making the pass. Their eyes went directly to where they were going to pass to, so I knew where to go.”
Parsons hasn’t won a game all year – last year the Lady Vikings won a Sub-State Semi-Final over Louisburg, but this year most of the team is made up of freshmen – though their last two games were decided by nine points (Independence) and 10 points (Field Kindley).
After a 14-4 run by Chanute with 3:45 left that culminated with a Cranor half-court steal and a layup, Parsons weathered the storm with some crucial baskets from Briona Patterson, who helped make the score 14-9 at the end of the first.
But Chanute turned up the half-court defense, eventually ending the night with a total of 24 steals, and more importantly, their fifth win in five tries in the SEK.
Head coach Dustin Fox has been preaching pressure all year long, and this time it resulted in Chanute’s largest margin of victory of the year.
“We want to get out and we want to pressure. We want to get touches because we know touches lead to steals and steals lead to layups,” Fox said. “It was one of those things where the more pressure we could put on, and try to create some easy opportunities off that pressure on the offensive end.”
Chanute played a 1-3-1 defense, leading to an early deficit for Parsons that had a snowball effect all night.
There wasn’t a reason to go away from the strategy.
“I thought the girls in the first half, we had our moments where we looked pretty good in it, but there were times when we kind of let that energy lull, and allowed them to do some things that we didn’t need to let them do, but in that third quarter I thought we did a good job of eventually kind of coming out and putting it on them,” Fox said.
Steals for Chanute were the key, but the Lady Blue Comets also made four more free throws (14 of 28 versus 10 of 21) as well as two more 3s (4 of 15 versus 2 of 3).
Chanute girls (7-1, 5-0) won’t play again until heading to Pittsburg on Thursday, Jan. 23, for the annual Bill Hanson Memorial Tournament where they will play Cassville (Mo.) Senior High School. CHS will play two more games following Cassville.
Chanute 71, Parsons 31
Chetopa 44, Jayhawk Linn 35
Erie 53, Caney Valley 43
Fredonia 39, Humboldt 32
Frontenac 54, Baxter Springs 36
Girard 51, Riverton 38
Neodesha 37, Bluestem 28
Southeast 41, Altoona-Midway 3
St. Paul 47, Marmaton Valley 36