Lady Cats may be young, but boy are they tough

Defending state champion Oregon-Davis doesn’t have a senior on its basketball roster, and might be a year away from having a realistic shot at winning yet another state crown. However, on Tuesday night the young Lady Cats played like the championship program they’ve become.

The result? A thrilling 58-53 upset win over previously unbeaten Glenn, a team with three senior starters and a bevy of experience.

Oregon-Davis was yet again able to protect its home floor, something it has done exceptionally well for a very long time.

Terry Minix’s Lady Cats have now won 53 straight home games, dating to 2009.

O-D junior Taylor Kranenburg, one of the star’s of the win over the Lady Falcons, was quick to credit the crowd for helping her team rally from a 14-point first-half deficit and pull off the Lady Cats’ biggest win of the season to date.

“I think the atmosphere helped us so much,” she said.

Without question, the atmosphere was a special one, especially for a regular-season tilt.

There was hardly a seat to be had at The Den and the schools’ student bodies perfectly positioned themselves at either end of the court making for some quality banter back-and-forth banter. In fact, midway through the fourth quarter with the score tied at 51, the crowd rose to its feet as cheers of ‘Lets Go Cats,’ and ‘Lets Go Falcons,’ loudly rang out in the quaint gymnasium.

Credit the two programs, too, for giving hoops-crazed fans yet another classic to talk about for a long time to come.

Even though I picked Glenn to beat Oregon-Davis last night, mainly based on its experience and the way it had been playing, I pointed out that I would not at all be surprised if the Lady Cats won, and I wasn’t.

Minix’s team is flat out tough and you can tell they love playing the game of basketball and are a team that oozes with good chemistry. Such ingredients make for long tournament runs, and sometimes the end result is a championship.

“I just love playing with my team,” junior star Lexi Minix said. “We go to battle together.”

And she and her teammates seem to be liking the underdog role they’ve been given this season after being the hunted for the last couple of years.

“You can’t tell me people didn’t doubt us,” Minix said. “We are kind of an underdog.

“It makes it so much better when you’re the underdog and you come out on top.”

So what did we learn about both teams from last night’s classic?

First, Oregon-Davis is going to be a very tough out come tournament time. It hosts what will be the best Class 1A sectional in the state with ranked teams like South Central, Triton and Culver attempting to knock off the perennial power.

Ask yourself, ‘Who’s going to beat O-D in the state tournament?’ South Central could. Triton didn’t give me any indication it could when I covered its game against Glenn, and neither did Culver when I covered the Cavaliers’ 30-point loss at Oregon-Davis. For the record, South Central, Triton and Culver are three of the top eight teams in 1A, and of course the Lady Cats are, too.

As long as No. 2 Oregon-Davis is healthy it can go a long way in the tournament.

It may not be all that healthy right now either as Minix hurt her left arm in last night’s game and starting guard Kandis Sauer sprained her ankle in the first quarter.

Assuming health is on O-D’s side, a quick glance at the top-10 in 1A and other than the teams in the Lady Cats’ sectional, a handful of teams are from southern Indiana, meaning if the Lady Cats get out of their sectional, they very well could be playing for another state title. Of course, No. 7 Kouts might be waiting in the regional and No. 4 Lafayette Central Catholic could have something to say in the semi-state, but you get the picture.

Glenn won’t have a cakewalk through its sectional either. Just the opposite is the case. Like Oregon-Davis, Glenn’s sectional will be the toughest the state has to offer in the 3A division.

Why? Well, No. 2 St. Joseph, whose only loss this season is to Penn by six points, and No. 9 Rochester are a part of Glenn’s sectional.

The Zebras though have lost two games this month, including a stunning 45-41 decision to Bremen last night. They could easily lose their next two as a trip to No. 10 Tippy Valley is next followed by a road game at Plymouth.

If the Lady Falcons turn the ball over like they did last night (23), they won’t get out of sectional. However, if they hit outside shots like they’re capable of, they, too, could have a very fruitful tournament run.

One of the great things about high school basketball is you don’t have much time to celebrate a big win or be down after a tough loss in the regular season, and that’s the case with both Oregon-Davis and Glenn.

The Lady Cats host Argos tomorrow and travel to Triton for a big one Saturday, while Glenn hosts Bremen on Friday.

Then the two teams will prep for the annual Bi-Country Tournament. And yes, we could and should get a rematch of last night’s classic a week from tomorrow.

If the last two meetings between the Lady Cats and Lady Falcons are any indication, a clash in the Bi-County Tournament semifinals would be must-see Indiana high school basketball.

Hopefully we’ll be so lucky and that comes to fruition.