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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Lady Hawks roll to title

Monday, March 7, 2005

Kelly's Kelly Essner is fouled.
POPLAR BLUFF - In convincing fashion, the Kelly Lady Hawks cruised through the Class 3, District 2 Tournament, clinching the championship with a 56-35 win against second-seeded Greenville on Saturday at the Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff.

Kelly will play Doniphan on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in a Class 3 Sectional game at Poplar Bluff High School.

For Kelly coach Rod McQuerter it was sweet redemption after being fired from coaching following last season, only to be rehired after popular opinion of the players forced another vote.

"This one is very sweet," said McQuerter. "I'm very proud of my seniors. I've been coaching these girls for six years. A lot of teams can't say they won a district championship and these girls for the rest of their life can say that."

Kelly (24-4) dominated Saturday's game from start to finish as they raced out to a 16-2 lead and never looked back.

The Lady Hawks led 13-0 before Greenville finally got on the board with 2:49 left in the first quarter.

"Our goal is to come out with a lot of intensity because Greenville is a very disciplined basketball team," said McQuerter. "The girls were able to come out tonight and do that."

Kelly continued to dominate in the second quarter as they extended the lead to 34-14 by halftime.

The Lady Hawks led by as much as 23 points in the third quarter and took a 45-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Greenville (16-8) played the Lady Hawks tougher in the second half, getting outscored 22-21, but the first half deficit was too much to overcome.

"Greenville is a very well-coached basketball team," said McQuerter. "They came out and they have a group of seniors that play hard. But I'm proud of my seniors as well. There's a lot of pressure in the district championship game. There's no pressure when you have fun though."

Once again Kelly was led by standout senior guard Kelly Essner, who finished with a game-high 25 points.

"Kelly had an outstanding game but she couldn't do this without the help of her teammates, and she understands that," said McQuerter. "Kelly does everything based on how our teammates respond."

Greenville had a size advantage on the interior with a pair of post players standing at 5-foot-10, but McQuerter said his smaller players' post defense proved to be the difference.

"Our post players did an outstanding job tonight," said McQuerter. "This was the best post defense we've had this year."

Brittany Ponder had 11 points for Kelly.

Brittney Osborn led Greenville with 10 points.