The weather has kept nearly everyone inside in recent days.
Staying inside was big Tuesday night for the Jefferson City Lady Jays. The Lady Jays scored 22 points in the paint in the first quarter on their way to a 78-18 victory against the Capital City Lady Cavaliers in Central Missouri Activities Conference action at Capital City High School.
“When the bigs are on and when they’re finishing, we know it’s going to be a pretty good night,” Jefferson City coach Kay Foster said.
Jefferson City finished 11-of-12 on its shots inside in the first quarter. Several of those baskets came after pinpoint passes from Hannah Nilges.
“Hannah ignites everything, she does a great job of finding the players inside,” Foster said.
Nilges finished with 10 assists.
“She sees the floor so well, she’s very unselfish,” Foster said. “For her to score what she did and still share the ball, I’m really happy for her.”
For Capital City, it was a chance to test themselves against one of the top teams in the state.
“This is an awesome experience for our girls because you don’t get a chance to play a team as talented as they are in high school,” Capital City coach Ashley Agee said. “It was just a chance to see what we can do against a team like that.”
Agee said the Lady Cavaliers were working on some specific things in the game and not worrying about the score.
“How we handle adversity, we talked about the things we could control and working on our offense,” Agee said. “Some of that slipped away from us because we catch a glimpse of the scoreboard and it can be discouraging.”
Jefferson City, playing its first game in 15 days, was a little off early. The Lady Jays led 4-0 after the first minute but scored just four more points in the next two minutes.
“We were just rusty and excited to be back on the floor,” Foster said. “After a couple of minutes, we started to find our rhythm.”
Jefferson City eventually led 15-0 with a little less than three minutes to go in the quarter. A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Natalie Allison was Capital City’s lone basket of the quarter as Jefferson City led 23-4 after eight minutes.
“When you have three girls at 6-foot or taller, you know you’re not going to get much in the paint,” Agee said. “Unfortunately, we don’t generate a lot of our offense outside the paint and we can’t match what they have right now.”
Jefferson City outscored Capital City 26-7 in the second quarter to take a 49-11 lead into halftime. But Foster wasn’t entirely pleased with what she saw in the first two quarters.
“I wasn’t happy with our defensive rotations in the first half,” she said. “We’re going to look at tape and see how we can improve on that.”
The Lady Jays turned down the offensive pressure after the first couple of minutes in the third quarter, content to run a half-court offense the remainder of the game. Jefferson City led 69-18 going to the fourth quarter, which was played with a running clock.
Kambry Pistel led the Lady Cavaliers with seven points and five rebounds.
Capital City (2-19 overall, 0-4 CMAC) is back in action at home Monday against Mexico.
In addition to her 10 assists, Nilges finished with a game-high 23 points. Kara Daly added 22 points on 11-of-11 shooting, while Sarah Linthacum totaled 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Jefferson City (17-1, 3-0 CMAC) will play a key conference contest Thursday at Rock Bridge.
“This was good for us going into Thursday,” Foster said. “We know that’s going to be a tough game, but we need one of those right now.”
The JV game will start at 6 p.m. Thursday, followed by the varsity contest around 7:30 p.m.
In Tuesday’s JV game, Jefferson City pulled away in the second half for a 44-28 victory against Capital City. Lyssa Sportsman had 16 points for the Lady Jays. Jada Anderson had 16 points to lead Capital City.