The Mountain Grove Lady Panthers made the trip to Thayer Feb. 14 looking to post a victory in South Central Association play.
But like so many of the SCA teams before them this year, that was not to be, as the Lady Bobcats racked up another impressive conference win with a 69-39 trouncing of Mountain Grove.
Mountain Grove did manage to open an early lead, but the hustling defense of the Lady Bobcats turned second-chance opportunities into points, knotting the game at 12-all to end the first period.
Although Thayer's leading scorer, Micah Stevens, was unable to find any range, she did all of the intangibles in this game.
Stevens was double-teamed on drives down the lane, so she instead of trying to do too much, she unselfishly turned into a play-maker and dished the rock to an open Chelsey Cabrales or Hope Hunt down low.
The Lady Panthers had some size in the middle, but good position block outs by Thayer allowed Hunt and the Lady Cats to rebound the ball strong and get a second shot at points.
Samantha Oakes' defense and aggressive baseline play proved to be another boon for Mountain Grove.
Although still slightly hampered by a previously broken ankle, Krysta Adams found her silky-smooth stroke from the elbow of the outer arc on offense and helped with pesky full court defense on the other end.
The full-court pressure from the Lady Bobcats kept the Lady Panthers out of sync and at the half, the Lady Bobcats had pulled out to a 27-18 lead.
The second half action started strong, with the Lady Bobcats catching a second wind and virtually shutting down Mountain Grove's two big girls on the inside.
Going into the final period with a comfortable lead did not mean the Lady Bobcats would let up.
Continuing the full court pressure, Stevens, Kaley Hebert and Adams doubled the ball and cut into Mountain Grove's passing lanes.
Kristen Earls, along with Hunt and Oakes, defended the wings and the paint, as the Lady Cats kept smothering the ball.
Stevens did finally manage to elude the double teams a bit, finding her spot just to the left of the elbow, but she managed just eight points on the night.
Cabrales hit for a game-high 20, while Adams had 12 and Hunt 10 points. Oakes finished with nine, Herbert eight and Earls two in the Lady Bobcats' 30-point rout of Mountain Grove.
In a game which had been previously scheduled for Feb. 11, but was canceled due to ice, the Lady Cats played to the Lady Bulldogs from Cabool in an SCA makeup game Feb. 15.
As always seems the case from every opponent Thayer faces, Cabool had a size advantage over the Lady Bobcats.
But size just couldn't overcome the hovering defensive quickness of Thayer, or the-always-on-the move offense and individual effort the Lady Bobcats lay out each game.
With a 13-6 lead at the end of the first, the Lady Bobcats poured it on the young Lady Bulldogs.
Constant full court pressure by Stevens, Hebert and Krista Adams forced the Lady Bulldogs into a couple of turnovers that Thayer cashed in for layups in the front court. This helped Thayer to a 39-15 lead at the half.
The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first, as Stevens found her groove with drives to the hoop and pull-up jumpers from the elbow.
Even though Hunt had been benched very early in the first period due to with three quick fouls, while she was on the floor, she battled for every rebound and was still strong defending the lane.
Hebert may still have some floor burns for awhile, after being tripped up going for a defensive steal.
But just like a water bug, the "Little One" flashed into the passing lane, tipped the ball and drove in for several layups.
Adams added good court vision, ball handling, long range offense and constant defense, all a part of the team scheme, in a rout, as the Lady Bobcats rolled to a 70-26 victory over the up-and-coming Cabool Lady Bulldogs.
Then after the 2008 seniors and their parents were recognized, the 23-1 Thayer Bobcats started off their 57-23 rout against Mountain Grove with Michael Lowther's control of the tip.
Since this night was senior recognition night, Coach Matt Pitts changed the lineup and opened the game with all five seniors -- Ryan Tate, Garrett Smith, Lowther, Blake Horton and Matt Kojdecki.
Big Tate was an early force down low and Smith came up with several off-side layups and a short jump shot.
Almost like watching a magic show, the lightening quick defensive hands of Lowther stole the ball and sent it the other way. Horton's long reach and reaction to the ball sent him streaking down the court for some early points. This helped the Bobcat thorobreds to a 13-2 lead at the end of one and pushed the margin to 29-5 at the half.
Kojdecki, suffering from the flu, put on his game face and contributed his long-range fire power and close coverage on defense.
Jacob Eckman also set back a bit with the flu bug, asserted a lot of will down low with second-half points in the paint and from the free throw stripe.
Lance Schneider ran Thayer's run-and-gun offensive scheme and that, along with the Cats' helter-skelter defense pushed Thayer's lead out to 43-18 after three.
The quick final period allowed Coach Pitts to rotate players, keeping the Panthers off their game as Thayer cruised to a 57-23 victory.