School of the Osage was firing on all cylinders in a game at Versailles Thursday night.
The Indians got off to a quick start, leading 42-12 by halftime and finished the night comfortably with a 68-31 win over the Tigers.
"When there are three guards hitting that makes us a little bit more dangerous," Osage coach Scott Rowland said.
"When you lose Liberty (Gamm), your leading scorer who goes down, somebody is going to have to step up and at least take those shots and we'll worry about making them later."
The Indians lost Gamm to injury during a game against Camdenton on January 14 and the team is hoping she can return at some point this season. Osage went on to drop two straight games to Blair Oaks and Branson in the aftermath, but the team was certainly on the right track Thursday night.
Sara Wolf led the team with a career night as she scored 30 points for the Indians while Sydney Riley added 12, Paige Luttrell hit a trio of 3-pointers on her way to 11 and Ella DeMott added eight points, respectively. The spotlight may have been on Wolf for some time as she led the charge offensively, but for her the win was always a team effort.
"It was a lot of fun and all my teammates helped me get that career high tonight," she noted. "It was a little different without 'Lib' out there, but all my teammates stepped up and contributed to all that 30 points.
"Everyone stepped up, played their role and we all got that win together."
It is a contention Versailles coach Tim Spiers would certainly agree with. His Tigers have seen some better nights on the floor, but the Indians as a whole were tough to slow down.
"I don't know that there is a 'star' player but I think they play well together and tonight they shot the 'three' well," the coach remarked as he noted all the different defensive looks his club presented to try and slow down the Indians. "We did not get off to a slow start, except offensively. We turned the ball over, but we were getting stops defensively.
"We just did not shoot the ball well at all. We were 3-16 from the free throw line in our own gym and that is just not going to get it done anywhere. We got upperclassmen guards turning the ball over against little pressure which is hurting us so we need to take care of that."
Although, he certainly did not hesitate to give credit to Wolf, either.
"She played well. She stepped up and took what we gave her," Spiers said. "She made shots in the opening on our zone, made shots on the reversal ball where we were not quick enough to get out to her and get a hand in her face. She was doing it all."
Versailles was led by Maris Ollison who put up seven points for the Tigers and Allison Foley added six points while Sandalyn Morris finished with five. The zone defense of the Indians managed to make things tough for Morris, who had been averaging double figures on the scoresheet.
"We wanted to because the biggest thing we talked about in the scouting report was that she has a great motor," Rowland said of the Tigers' freshman inside threat. "For a young kid she likes to flash the ball and catch it. She is not going to take a jump shot, she is going to the basket and you really try to focus on making sure we had help on the backside and somebody getting in front of her just to make her catches tougher and make her shoot over somebody. Part of that is also pressure so they can't pinpoint pass it.
"There were a few times we lost track of her on the press, but overall I thought we did a really good job with her. They are pretty good inside."
Despite Thursday night's score, Rowland said he has seen the program improving overall at Versailles.
"They are improving and he has done a good job with them," the coach said of Spiers and his program. "They are getting better. I told the girls they were going to have to play well. We ended up winning by a lot, but I thought we played well to do it. I don't think Versailles just said, 'Hey, here is an easy game for you.' They came out and got after it, but I just thought we played really well."
Versailles (5-14, 0-4 Tri-County Conference) was scheduled to visit Richmond on Saturday before hosting California on Monday. Moving forward, Spiers is looking for his club to hit more shots to open up the offense and keep things tough on the defensive end.
"If we play well, we have a chance to go down there and win. They have won about five games like we have and we don't know a whole lot about them because we had not planned on playing them," Spiers said of Saturday's contest that was added to the schedule due to inclement weather. "What is most important is how we start. Are we out playing hard, are we getting after it and doing what we need to do? If we are, then we ought to be in the game and that ought to keep us going through the game and give us a chance to win."
Osage (7-9, 1-2 Tri-County Conference) will visit Southern Boone on Monday. There is a tough slate ahead with teams like the Eagles and California who are 27-5 combined. Rowland said his team should remain more focused on itself than the opponent, not worrying about how good anyone may be.
Wolf said Thursday night should create confidence.
"We are just going to go out there, play like we know how to play and it will be exciting," she said. I'm kind of excited knowing these games, everyone in our conference has played each other and you never know who is going to win. So, we could pull of some upsets. We'll see."