Log in Subscribe

Lady Champs’ Campaign Weathered at Loretto

Noah Maddox
Posted 2/27/24

The Cascade Lady Champions' season came to an end in the second Region 5-AA semifinal on Monday night against Loretto.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Lady Champs’ Campaign Weathered at Loretto


A resurgent Cascade Lady Champions’ season came to a close in Loretto against the fourth-ranked Lady Mustangs, 75-46, in the second Region 5-AA semifinal on Monday night.

Despite being physically outmatched by an extremely lengthy Loretto side, the Lady Champs knew they had to bring the fight for a full 32 minutes.

“My girls just competed all night,” said Lady Champions’ Head Coach Janie Demonbreum, “They are just big, and they make some really good basketball decisions. I just felt like we were running out of gas in the fourth quarter.” 

Loretto put their length and size advantage to use early and often, jumping out to a 24-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. For Cascade, Sophie Ray set the tone early, repeatedly attacking the basket and keeping the Lady Champs within four points, 12-8, to start the game. 

Sophie Ray (5) finished with a team-high 16 points against Loretto on Monday.
Sophie Ray (5) finished with a team-high 16 points against Loretto on Monday.

Unfortunately for the visitors, Ally Weathers, Jenny Clifton, and Jessie Chance were borderline unstoppable offensively in the first half, finishing with 14 points, nine points, and nine points respectively. Weathers finished the game leading all scorers with 29 points and countless assists as well.

The length of Loretto gave Kaegan Young problems in the first half as she was held to three points. She finished with 11, but as the primary ball handler and a tenacious defender, it was tough for Young to find the mark in the first 16 minutes.

Kaegan Young (22) goes up for two of her 11 points against Loretto.
Kaegan Young (22) goes up for two of her 11 points against Loretto.

The Lady Mustangs’ depth began to impose themselves in the second quarter especially, whereas Cascade primarily played six or seven players in the rotation for the entire game all season. Loretto won the second quarter 18-8 to take a 42-21 lead into the halftime locker room.

As the second half wore on, Demonbrem switched to a full court press that caused a few problems for the hosts. The Lady Champs were able to force some turnovers that led to run outs for easy baskets, but then Ally Weathers would come back down the court and get to the basket to keep Cascade at arms length. 

Young scored eight points in the second half, and Suzanna Crews also scored 10 of her 11 points in the final 16 minutes. After netting nine points in the first two quarters, Sophie Ray added seven in the second half to finish with a team-high 16 points.

Cascade could never cut the lead to single-digits in the second half, but it was not due to a lack of effort.

“[Loretto’s] Coach Rutledge even said, to go from three wins last year to 13 this year, it shows what these girls want,” Demonbreum said postgame.

“These girls are going to play hard.”

Cascade kept pace with Loretto in the third quarter, heading into the final frame trailing 58-37 after a 16-16 third quarter.

However, as Demonbreum alluded to, her team just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter while Loretto closed like the great team they are. The Lady Mustangs held Cascade to nine points in the final eight minutes to win, 75-46, and advance to the region championship.

The result marked the end of a career for Cascade’s lone senior, Hailey Giel.

Cascade's lone senior, Hailey Giel (13), played her final game as a Lady Champion on Monday.
Cascade's lone senior, Hailey Giel (13), played her final game as a Lady Champion on Monday.

“Hailey Giel brought a lot to our team as far as leadership, she wasn’t afraid to call people out, but also she was quick to include everybody,” expressed Demonbreum as she tried to fight back tears.

“It sucks to lose someone, but it’s the circle of life.”

Despite losing Giel, the Lady Champs are set to return the majority of their offensive output from this season, and they will be a year older heading into Year 3 of the Janie Demonbreum era at Cascade.

“I’m just excited moving forward,” she said, while concluding by expressing one single request for all the Cascade fans, “Just keep following these girls, this is not the end for them at all.”

The Lady Champions season ends at 13-16 (4-4) after reaching the region semifinals for only the third time in the last 10 years, but the buzz and excitement for next season will be at a level the program hasn’t seen in a half-decade.

Loretto improves to 25-3 (5-1) and advances to the region title game to take on Summertown on Wednesday night starting at 7:00 p.m.

Cascade Lady Champions, Loretto Lady Mustangs, Kaegan Young, Sophie Ray, Hailey Giel, Suzanna Crews, Janie Demonbreum, Ally Weathers