Warsaw Ladycat point guard Raven Caswell had not scored 30 points combined all season. Monday against Lincoln, she brought the ball down the court with the urgency of a fire truck. Ball control and back-tracking defenders were her only obstacles between her and the basket on every possession.
Her aggressiveness set the tone for the offense and exhausted Lincoln’s man-to-man defense in a 69-62 Ladycats victory.
Caswell, who finished with a game-high 33 points, opened the game with a short jumper. When another 10-foot field goal bounced in, Warsaw had a 7-0 lead.
Warsaw head coach Cody Morgan had one word to describe Caswell’s play.
“Fast,” Morgan said. “That’s what we need from her. She was attacking the basket. And we’ve seen that from her, just not in the abundance we did tonight.”
She finished 9 points shy of the Warsaw single-game scoring record of 42 points.
Erica Flores hit a shot from the free throw line to put Warsaw up 13-2 with 2:32 to play in the first.
Lincoln crept within three with 6:28 to play in the second after Aleah Paxton sunk two free throws. With just under five minutes to play in the first half, both teams entered the double bonus.
After entering halftime down 33-30, the Lady Cardinal’s deficit lingered around four points into the third quarter. However, Warsaw limited Lincoln to six points in the third quarter.
Caswell was the only one still running on a fast-break layup to push the Warsaw lead to 50-36 in the third quarter. That is, until Cierra Sawyers took a steal coast-to-coast for a layup and pushed Ladycat lead to 56-26.
Warsaw (2-14) would see their 20-point lead dissolve to 5 points with 30 seconds to play.
Both teams were in the double bonus again with more than three minutes to play. Warsaw finally slowed their pace. Lincoln forward Blake Bays hit two shots from the post in consecutive possessions and pulled Lincoln within seven.
When two free throws rimmed out for Bays with eight seconds on the clock, she left the score at 67-62.
Bays finished with 21 points.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2