For a majority of the fourth quarter on Thursday night, the North Callaway girls' offense was cold before seven points in the final minute preceded a 49-46 victory at home against Silex. The victory was North Callaway's first of the season in their first Eastern Missouri Conference matchup but was also Andrew Klein's first career basketball head coaching win (after earning many as the volleyball head coach the last three years). The Ladybirds (1-1, 1-0 EMO) were down 46-42 until a 3-pointer by Natalie Shryock broke the cold spell, which included only one field goal in the fourth quarter prior to that, and two free throws each by Shryock and Riley Blevins secure the win.
"They executed the plays," Klein said. "I wasn't out there playing as I gave that up a while ago. Making that shot (Shryock's 3-pointer) is just big-time. The best players on our team (Shryock and Blevins) nailing 4-for-4 (free throws) down the stretch. That's hard for any kid. I don't care if you're all-state or all-conference. When the pressure's on and you know your team needs you to bury shots, that's awesome."
Shryock led the floor with 21 points and had five 3-pointers and four assists, Lakyn Hartley had nine points and three steals (including one that followed Blevins' game-winning free throws), Blevins had eight points, six rebounds and three assists, and Kymorie Myers led the team with eight rebounds. Silex (1-2, 0-1 EMO) was led by Maddie Isom's 11 points and Abigail Mooney's 10 points.
"It's always hard to get the first one, but we all played super well together," Shryock said. "Our defense is really good because we're all really close, we talk through everything and we're good at communication."
North Callaway plays Boonville (1-0) in the first round of the Centralia Invitational Tournament at 6 p.m. Monday.
Look for the full story in the Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, edition of the Mexico Ledger.