Winter Break Recap: Girls Basketball


Tommy Briner

Brooke Highmark brings the ball up the court in a game against Parkway Central during the Visitation Christmas Tournament.

The girls basketball team participated in the annual Visitation tournament for the first time ever over the Christmas break. The Visitation Christmas Tournament is a highly selective, invitation-only event filled with the best girls basketball teams from Missouri and Illinois. The Wildcats were selected as the seventh seed to start out the tournament and placed sixth overall after losing to Kirkwood in the fifth-place game.

The girls started off strong in a game against the tenth seeded Nerinx Hall Markers. They maintained the lead at halftime by a score of 18-15. In the second half, the Wildcats faced a full-court pressure defense that ultimately lead them to several fast breaks and easy layups. In the end, Westminster pulled off the win by a score of 50-36. Nerinx was lead by Lyndsey Heckel with 13 points, while Westminster was led by sophomores Brooke Highmark with 22 and Carlie Vick with eight.

After defeating Nerinx, the Wildcats faced the Edwardsville Tigers, two seed in the tournament and number one team in the state of Illinois. Being the underdog, the Wildcats came out to a surprisingly strong start to take a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. At half time, Westminster only trailed by two with a score of 21-19 with help from sharp-shooting sophomore Reilly Brophy. The Tigers managed to gain a double-digit lead in the third quarter due to tremendous rebounding and free-throw shooting. The Wildcats got the game within four points towards the end of the third quarter, but at the end of the game, Edwardsville pulled off a tight 50-42 win against the Wildcats. The Wildcats were led by Reilly Brophy with 14 points, including four three-pointers, and sophomore Carlie Vick with ten rebounds.

After saying goodbye to their hopes of a title, the Wildcats were forced to move on quickly as they faced off against the next best ranked team in the tournament the following day. Three seed Parkway Central was led by a duo of post players including 6’3” center and Mizzou commit Jayla Kelly, but the Wildcats were able to enforce their will throughout the entirety of the game. They fronted to gigantic center and held her to just nine points and three field goals. On the offensive side of the ball, Brooke Highmark took over, scoring 27 points en route to a 60-48 Westminster victory. After losing to this same team by 29 points just two years ago, this win was a landmark victory that represents just how far the program has come in such a little amount of time. 

The Wildcats took on the Kirkwood Pioneers for the second time this season in their final game of the tournament. For the second time in two games against Kirkwood, Brooke Highmark was held tightly in check and the Wildcats fell to Kirkwood by a score of 44-38. Kirkwood star player and New York University commit Natalie Bruns scored 24 points to continue her streak of dominance against the Wildcats while Macey Lottmann led Westminster with ten points. 

The Wildcats were nobody’s friend in this tournament. They were the up-and-comers in a tournament full of the blue bloods, and they more than held their own. Reilly Brophy and Brooke Highmark received All-Tournament Honors, and Macey Lottmann was named as the winner of the 100 Percent Award, voted on by coaches and given to a player who gives spectacular effort. Teams like Incarnate Word, Edwardsville, Whitfield, and Parkway North will have to sweat Westminster for years to come around Christmastime.

The Wildcats get right back into action this week with four important games. They’ll play three times in the Wildcat New Year Shootout before moving ahead quickly to a matchup with rival MICDS on Friday evening.