'Sharing the sugar'The Wildcats spread the wealth in their 20-point win over Wilton
COLUMBUS JUNCTION — Columbus senior Megan Pretz scored the first two points of Monday’s game against visiting Wilton. A few seconds later, younger sister Kelsey Pretz made two free throws. A steal and a short jumper by senior Shelly Stewart put the Wildcats up 6-0. And a corner 3-pointer by senior Caitlin Chaney capped a 13-2 Columbus run to start the non-conference contest.
The Wildcats got a lot of points from a lot of different players in their 67-47 win over the Beavers, which is something that Columbus head coach Nathan Carlson has been stressing all season long.
“He always makes a good point of ‘sharing the sugar,’” Chaney said of Carlson. “We don’t care who scores, because we’re a team, and I think that’s really cool. Our team is really good at ‘sharing the sugar.’”
The start of Monday’s game couldn’t have been much sweeter for the Wildcats (14-8). They hit five of their first seven shots from the field and jumped out to a 13-2 lead less than four minutes into the game.
“That was one of the things that we talked about before the game. I said, ‘Wilton’s struggling a little bit this year, and you can’t let teams like that hang around. You’ve got to put them away early,’” Carlson said. “I thought we did a really nice job of that. We put them away early and kind of killed their spirit.
“It started with our seniors. It started with Megan and Shelly and Caitlin. Our seniors stepped up right away in their last home game of their careers. Even if we win out, we’re never going to play here again, so I’m just really excited that our seniors could do that in their last game on this court.”
Megan Pretz said that she and her fellow seniors were determined to get a win in their final home game.
“We were really excited,” she said. “We knew this was our last time to play on our home court and we wanted to go out and get a win tonight. It was really important to us.”
Chaney found Megan Pretz for a short jumper to begin the game, and the Wildcats continued that selfless style of play the entire night. Junior point guard Martha Anaya personified the “share the sugar” slogan, dishing out 10 assists in addition to her 12 points.
“Our point guard led the North Division in assists this year and she piled it on again tonight with assists,” Carlson said of Anaya. “When you’ve got a point guard who shares the ball as well as ours, it just kind of filters through the rest of the team.”
Everybody got a taste for the Wildcats. Megan Pretz scored 19 points to lead four Columbus players in double figures, and she also pulled down 18 rebounds. Kelsey Pretz added 14 points, and Anaya had a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists. Stewart had 10 points, and Chaney chipped in eight.
The Wildcats shared the sugar with everybody except their neighbors from Wilton. Columbus only turned the ball over to the Beavers 12 times in the victory.
The Wildcats led 21-9 after one quarter of play and extended their advantage to 39-20 at the intermission. Columbus led by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter.
Only sophomore Grace Austin, who scored a game-high 23 points, helped the Beavers (3-17) hang around.
But she alone couldn’t score enough to contend with a group of determined Columbus seniors.
“We were really fired up for this game,” Chaney said. “After four years of playing all together, it’s bittersweet that this is the last one, but we went out with a bang.”
The Wildcats, who have won nine of their last 10 games, hope to carry that momentum into Saturday’s Class 3A regional quarterfinal at Williamsburg. And a win over the Raiders (14-7), who play in the bigger WaMaC Conference, would definitely be a sweet one for Columbus.
“We’re going to be really fired up,” Chaney said.