By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
LATHROP - Cameron has been in some tight games this year.
Besides falling in a 54-53 heartbreaker to St. Michael Archangel (Lee's Summit) in Saturday's Bill Burns Classic title game, the Dragons also needed double overtime to beat Savannah, edged Stanberry by two in the second game of the year and have played four total games decided by nine points or fewer this season.
It looked like, maybe, another close one was brewing Monday with Lathrop ahead 13-12 after the first quarter.
Laini Joseph wasn't having any of it.
The senior and Northwest Missouri State commit made five-of-six three-point attempts in the second quarter, including her first three in a row, and that marked the beginning of the end for Lathrop, as Cameron (13-2) rolled to a 69-36 win over the Mules at Lathrop High School on Monday.
"I just kept shooting, because my teammates kept letting me shoot," Joseph said. "They didn't get discouraged or anything. They just kept cheering me on. So, it really helps you keep going when you get encouragement."
Joseph notched eight total threes on the night and ended up with a game-high and career-high 33 points. Not only that, she finished with a triple-double, grabbing 10 rebounds and doling out 10 assists to boot.
"Obviously, (Laini) was feeling good from behind the arc in the second quarter," Cameron head coach Matt Wenck said. "That kind of loosened everything up. Laini hit a lot of different girls on fast break opportunities. I think maybe because (Lathrop) was worried about where Laini was.
"We kind of got on a run, it got out of hand and we'll take it."
The Dragons outscored the Mules 27-8 in the second quarter and 19-7 in the third. If Joseph wasn't hitting a big shot, she found someone else who did.
"I think we were all just ready to get ahead so we could have a little more fun," Joseph said.
Joseph's 10 assists allowed for other Cameron players like juniors Olivia Moore (11 pts.) and Avery McVicker (8 pts.) to have solid nights as well.
Eight total Dragons ended up scoring. All-in-all, a feel-good win for a pretty good team who came up a point short in the Bill Burns Classic championship only two days prior.
In the same gym, no less.
"That was a good win for us," Coach Wenck said. "We've been playing pretty good lately, but not as good as were 6-7 games ago. Hopefully, this'll get us going again like that."
Cameron scored 60 or more point in four of its first seven games, and 69 is a new season-high. So perhaps, a sign of big things to come for the No. 10 Dragons in Class 4.
After playing two games in three days, Cameron gets eight days off before partaking in the Cameron tournament. The Dragons play No. 8 Chillicothe (10-1) Tuesday and Maryville (11-1) Wednesday.
"Back-to-back pretty big games," Wenck said. "It's going to be tough. We're 13-2 and we're the five-seed. So, that tells you what kind of tournament it is."
Cameron 69 - 12, 27, 19, 10
Lathrop 36 - 13, 8, 7, 8
Cameron scorers - Laini Joseph - 33, Olivia Moore - 11, Avery McVicker - 8, Brayton Shank - 6, Mica Dunscombe - 5, Madison Jessen - 2, Ella Jameson - 2, Claire Wenck - 2.
Lathrop scorers - Arrissa Jackson - 11, Autumn Nichols - 8, Maycee Nichols - 4, Kaitlyn Morgan - 4, Kinsley Patton - 2, Bailey White - 2, Kaylie Beane - 2, Avery Clay - 2, Josie Wright - 1.
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