March 5-11, 2012

By Eric Butler
USATourneyTime

As far as her basketball skills are concerned, there’s little question as to the ability of Melrose senior guard Cassidy Doherty.

When it comes to Doherty’s off-the-court attributes, Buffaloes coach Toby Bostwick likes to do some good natured ribbing.

“She’s very happy go lucky, a typical blonde,” Bostwick said. “She lets things roll off her shoulders, doesn’t let anything bother her.”

That might just be an invaluable life skill for Doherty this year, given the history of transfer students between the smallest schools in the state and the animosities engendered – particularly at the school left behind.

Doherty’s father, Jim Doherty, was the coach of the girls basketball team when the family lived in Des Moines. Over the summer, however, the Doherty clan relocated to Melrose as Doherty took the boys basketball head coaching job with the Buffaloes.

Cassidy Doherty, a 5-foot, 4-inch wiz with a basketball, naturally moved along as well although she only had one year of high school remaining.

“I had been there since I had been in kindergarten,” Doherty said. “But under the circumstances, it wasn’t that hard (to move). There were some problems at the administrative level and it was a good move for us.”

Arguably, had Cassidy stayed in at Des Moines, it would have been the Demons holding down the state’s top ranking in Class 1A heading into the postseason this season.

Instead it’s Melrose that’s the team-to-beat as the state tournament approaches.

“She’s the difference maker,” said Mike Majors, coach of second-ranked Tatum. “She can shoot the three, can take it to the hoop, cause havoc on the defense. She can do everything.”

“Cassidy can create her own shot. She’s very fast and has very good footwork,” Bostwick said. “I really thought we had a chance to win state with the other girls. When Cassidy came in, I was very tickled. I couldn’t wait for the basketball season to start.”

When Melrose set a state record by bombing 15 3-pointers against Logan earlier this season, Doherty accounted for 10 of the long range swishes.

Doherty is averaging 17.5 points a game and is capable of doing more, according to her coach. But she also is dishing out assists to the tune of 10.5 per contest and teammates like freshman Caley Barnard, who has exceeded 30 points in a game on more than one occasion, are the beneficiaries.

“She can score if we need her to score, but she’s very generous,” Bostwick said. “The girls have accepted her. She’s such a good kid that it’s been easy for the girls. And I’ve got two seniors (Kelsey Draper and Kendra Jacobs) who are just determined not to let anything stand in their way of what they want.”

What they want, Doherty included, is a state championship.

“I think if we keep playing together and stay healthy, we have the ability to win it,” Doherty said.

And if the run to a state crown means a contest against Des Moines, currently ranked fourth in 1A, that’s a bridge that Doherty says she is willing to cross.

“I would have some mixed feelings, that’s for sure,” she said. “I think with the current coaches I have, I’ll be able to get through it.”

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