After a close first quarter in which NMCC trailed 13-11, Portageville put on a full-court press and forced the Lady Eagles to commit 10 turnovers in the second quarter. The Lady Bulldogs outscored NMCC 22-13 in the quarter to take control of the contest.
"Turnovers are the story of our season so far," said NMCC head coach Lance Tollison. "Early on in games we tend to rush things and are careless with the ball. That is the price you pay when we have a lot of freshmen out on the court. I am going to have to live with the turnovers as these young girls learn and improve."
The Lady Eagles responded in the third quarter with a 6-0 run to start the quarter and trailed 35-30. Freshman Shameka Williams scored 14 of NMCC's 22 points in the third and was tough to defend in the open court.
Portageville recovered with solid play from senior Hannah Rone and junior Kellye Penn. The duo combined to score 16 points in the third and the Lady Bulldogs led 58-46 after three quarters of action.
"We have been playing sloppy the last couple of games and it continued at times tonight," said Portageville head coach Eric Ellerbrook. "I give my girls credit, most of our starting lineup is sick and Brittney Walker is out with a sprained ankle. I am excited about our season because we are still winning games and we have so much room for improvement."
The Lady Eagles played tough on the boards throughout the contest with a 36-31 rebounding advantage, including 18-10 advantage on the offensive glass.
"New Madrid can definitely rebound the basketball," said Ellerbrook. "They are so big and athletic, we were blocking them out but they just jumped right over us. New Madrid has some young girls and they have a bright future over there."
Portageville thwarted a late comeback by NMCC by breaking the Lady Eagle press and scoring in transition. The Lady Bulldogs gained the 71-61 victory.
"I thought we got better late in the game," said Tollison, "but I am disappointed that we gave up too many easy baskets late. We are a young team and we are getting close to putting all four quarters together."
Rone led Portageville with 21 points and also had three assists and three steals. Penn ended her night with 20 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and three assists. Lauren Kellams had a good night in the paint with nine points and six rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs forced NMCC into 26 turnovers in the game and had 11 steals as a team. Portageville's bench outscored the Lady Eagles 15-4 in the contest.
Williams garnered honors as the game's high scorer with 29 points and also had five assists, three steals and two blocks for NMCC. Fellow freshman Jasmine Flennoy had her way on the blocks for the Lady Eagles with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Heavenly Wren was also effective down low for NMCC with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Portageville and NMCC will both compete in the upcoming Lady Royals Classic Tournament starting on Saturday at Twin Rivers.
Portageville (8-1) received the No. 6 seed and will face No. 11 seed Senath-
Hornersville at 5 p.m.
NMCC (2-6) garnered the eighth seed and will compete against nine seed Twin Rivers starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
STEELE -- The Oran Lady Eagles picked up a road win on Thursday night with a 54-16 victory over South Pemiscot.
Oran blanked the Lady Bulldogs 13-0 in the first quarter and led 28-5 at the half.
The Lady Eagles dominated play in the paint as Tiffany Glastetter and Erica Michelsen led the way with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Oran (3-3) will be off until after the Christmas break. The Lady Eagles will participate in the Delta Tournament starting on Jan. 2.
WARDELL -- The Richland Rebels evened their record at 2-2 on the season with a convincing 66-37 victory at North Pemiscot on Thursday night.
It was an important win for the Rebels heading into tonight's game at East Prairie.
"It was a good game for us -- a good confidence boost for us," said Richland coach Casey Knight. "We're finally getting back to full strength. We've had some injuries. The kids played hard on defense and executed on offense. Hopefully we'll be able to get some momentum off this."
Thursday's game marked the return of top scorer Cameron Whitaker, who scored a game-high 24 points. Drew Thornton added 21 points and Tommy Stafford scored 11 points.
North Pemiscot was led by St. Cin's 13 points.
Junior varsity action for tonight's game at East Prairie starts at 6 p.m.