Krum gave Melissa a dose of its own medicine Friday night in their girls’ Class 2A area playoff game at Ryan High School.
The No. 4-ranked Lady Cats used a patient offense and tenacious defense on their way to a 53-39 victory over the No. 12 Lady Cardinals, a team that came into the playoffs having defeated its opponents by an average of 26 points and had lost only twice in 30 games this season. Krum, now 31-3, advances to the regional quarterfinal against No. 2 Brock, which won 62-22 over Whitewright.
For Melissa, only one District 12-2A opponent had stay within 20 points of the Lady Cardinals this season, who had won 16 straight games before losing a warm-up game to Early, 65-50, last Saturday. Melissa’s only other loss was a 55-52 decision to Grandview in December.
Melissa was sharp early. Its full-court pressure and outstanding three-point shooting—the Lady Cardinals sank eight from long-range for the game—gave Krum all it could handle in the early going.
But Krum gained control midway through the first quarter by forcing the tempo in the backcourt, working its offense patiently, and eventually holding Melissa in the fourth quarter to nine points, all three-pointers coming in the final 1:17 of the game. By then, Krum had led by as many as 19 points and proved to be the dominant team.
“We know the game is not won or lost in the first quarter,” said Krum head coach Lana Degelia. “We know it’s one possession at a time. We were a little chaotic at first, but we reined it in and regained our composure.
“In the second half, we relaxed a lot more and took care of the ball. They gave us a different look and intensity out there. We’re going to keep seeing more of that as we keep going. It’s not going to get any easier.”
Rachel Wallace and Julia Schmaltz each scored 15 points and Allison Beck added 11 for the Lady Cats. Another key contribution came from backup Callie Craddock, who played nearly 10 minutes beginning midway through the third quarter when post Sydney Shelstead went to the bench with four fouls.
“Callie did a fantastic job,” Degelia said. “That was big for us. That was a difference maker.” Degelia was also pleased with her team’s work on the defensive boards. Melissa had seven offensive rebounds in the first half and just three in the second half.
Melissa jumped to a quick 8-0 lead the start the game behind three-point jumpers by Shelby Hill and Whitney Taylor, and Hill’s 10-foot jumper midway through the first quarter kept Melissa up 12-8.
But Krum was able to pressure Melissa in the backcourt, forcing three turnovers off its own full-court pressure, and the Lady Cats converted with a 12-1 run, five players combining to score five layups and a push back off a miss for a 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Madison Simmons hit two three-point jumpers for Melissa early in the second quarter to get the Lady Cardinals to within 24-19 with 5:22 left in the half. Krum’s defensive pressure, however, continued to stymie Melissa as Krum went to the line for four points and a five-foot jump shot by Shelstead pushed the Lady Cats’ lead to 29-19 at halftime.
Krum shot 41 percent from the field in the first half.
Melissa came out strong to start the second half. A three-pointer by Simmons keyed a 7-2 run to start the third quarter for the Lady Cardinals. Once again, Krum’s defense set the tone, forcing four turnovers while Schmaltz scored five points to spark an 11-4 run to push Krum’s lead to 42-30 at the end of the third.
Krum’s patient offense went to work and a Schmaltz follow-up with 3:23 left gave the Lady Cats their biggest lead of the game, 19 points. Melissa would not score in the quarter until 1:17 remained and the game out of reach.
“We knew once we settled in we could play our game,” said Schmaltz. “They were aggressive and they were hitting some good shots. We were able to get our defense going and that helped us be more patient on offense.”
Simmons led Melissa with 12 points—all three pointers—while Hill and Taylor each finished with seven points.
“Krum is Krum,” said Melissa head coach Claude Webb. “They’ve been doing the same thing for years and they’re good at it. We just didn’t execute, especially against their pressure. We made some poor decisions against their full-court press, we got behind, and we got rattled. You’re not going to beat a team like Krum when you do that.”
KRUM 51, MELISSA 39
Krum 20 9 13 11 — 53
Melissa 13 6 11 9 — 39
Krum (31-3) — Allison Beck 11, Rachel Wallace 15, Julia Schmaltz 15, Sydney Shelstead 8, Caitlyn Arnold 4.
Melissa (28-3) — Megan Conlin 2, Emily Bates 1, Claighton Bush 6, Katie Webb 4, Shelby Hill 7, Madison Simmons 12, Whitney Taylor 7.