SPRINGTOWN — In a physical game, with bodies bumping and crashing to the floor, Springtown senior Christian Cassity had the toughest assignment.
Drive to the bucket.
Springtown coach Ken Thompson figured she could find a lane somewhere against Saginaw’s zone defense, and he was right. His 5-foot-11 guard scored 19 points and put in a driving fourth-quarter layup that stabilized the game for the Porcupines in their 44-36 victory Friday night, earning them what could be a valuable District 6-4A sweep against the Rough Riders.
"We felt like this was a must-win for us," Thompson said.
Which meant finding a way to get inside against Saginaw, which would in turn mean going up against Saginaw post Karli Mellegard.
Mellegard made her presence felt, blocking four shots and collecting six rebounds for the Rough Riders (22-6, 7-2 district), but Cassity and fellow guards Christina Jack and Brooklyn Horton got points inside when necessary. Horton went 7-for-8 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Cassity sank a jumper to start the second half after Saginaw had closed the first half on a 7-0 run that cut the lead to 25-18. Late in the third quarter, after Saginaw’s Gionna Jackson (23 points, five steals) had converted a 3-point play to tie the game, Cassity’s put-back gave the Porcupines the lead back at 33-31.
And in the fourth quarter, after Saginaw missed a second-chance shot that could have cut the lead to one, Cassity drove the lane for a runner that made it 38-33 with 4:20 left and put Springtown (22-5, 8-1) back in control for good.
"We had to win," Cassity said after the matchup of two of the three teams who began the night tied for the 6-4A lead. "The whole team got together the night before and said we needed to win this game."
The Porcupines led 14-5 in the first quarter and 25-11 in the second quarter before Saginaw got its offense going. Jackson scored six consecutive points to cut the lead to 25-18 at the half, and Savanna Trimmer and Mellegard put together another 6-0 run to cut the lead to 27-24 in the third quarter.
But Cassity — who else? — scored the next four points for Springtown for a 31-26 lead, and after Saginaw tied the game, Cassity came through with her seventh and eighth points of the quarter, accounting for all of her team’s scoring in the period.
She also led the Porcupines with nine rebounds.
"The zone that Saginaw is playing right now is tough to score on," Thompson said. "Both teams played really good defense tonight. It was tough for both teams."
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