(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
FARMINGTON - The Kelly Lady Hawks basketball team will battle the Metro Lady Panthers at the Farmington Civic Center on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. for the right to advance to the Class 3 final four.
Kelly (24-6) defeated Doniphan 49-46 in a thrilling sectional matchup. This is Kelly's first quarterfinal appearance since 2003. That year, the Lady Hawks lost to John Burroughs, 60-36.
The 2006-07 edition of the Lady Hawks (24-6) are led in scoring by 5-
foot-10 sophomore forward Debra Hall, who is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game. Senior point guard Brittany Ponder is averaging 10 points, five assists and three steals per game.
Junior Sarah Ruff (5-7) is averaging nine points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists per game. Fellow junior Kayla Cissell (5-9) has come on of late averaging eight points and six rebounds off the bench for the Lady Hawks.
Senior Nikki Weiny and sophomore Katee Moore provide solid offense and defense out on the perimeter. Both Weiny and Moore are averaging around seven points per game.
Metro (25-4) is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3 and are out of the Public High League in St. Louis. The Lady Panthers defeated Park Hills Central 61-26 to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Lady Panthers return four players from a team that captured first place in Class 2 last season with a 49-44 win over Clopton and finished the season at 29-3. Brittany Dodson, Ebony Davis, LaChelle Livingston and Dekeisha Mathis are the offensive leaders for Metro this season.
Dodson, Mathis and Livingston were apart of the Lady Panther team that finished in second place in Class 2 for 2005. That year, Metro lost to Clopton 57-50 in the finals and finished 28-4 record.
The Lady Panthers are an up-tempo team that likes to full-court pressure the opposing team. Metro is adept at forcing a high volume of turnovers and turning them into easy baskets on their offensive end.
"Metro is a very talented and athletic team," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter. "They have a lot of experienced girls who really play well together. Being the No. 1 team in Class 3 is not by accident, they are very good."
Against Park Hills Central, Metro led 42-11 at halftime and forced 27 turnovers for the contest. In the Class 2 championship game last year, Metro forced Clopton to commit 22 turnovers.
Gary Glasscock is in his fifth year as the head coach of the Panthers.
Glasscock has a combined 132-18 record while at Metro and a 387-126 record in his 17 years of coaching.
"The thing about Metro," said McQuerter, "is how well they are organized. Coach Glasscock is a tremendous coach and has his girls playing together and under control. They very rarely will beat themselves. They are a terrific program that likes to get up and down the court."
Dodson (5-5) leads the Lady Panthers in scoring this year averaging 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals per game. Last season in the Class 2 final four, Dodson scored 29 points in the semifinals against Marion C. Early. In the finals, the current senior had eight points and eight rebounds.
Davis, a 5-11 sophomore, is the presence in the paint for the Lady Panthers.
Davis is averaging 11.5 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals per game. As a freshman, Davis led Metro in scoring in last seasons' championship game with 18 points and had seven rebounds. In the semifinal matchup, Davis led the team with 13 rebounds.
Livingston is a 5-6 point guard for the Lady Panthers and is averaging 11 points, six steals, four assists and four rebounds per game. Mathis, a 5-6 junior, is averaging 10 points a game for Metro.
While both clubs don't have a common opponent, one of Metro's four losses this season came from Nerinx Hall, 54-47. Nerinx Hall also defeated Dexter this year 57-50. Kelly has lost to Dexter twice this season, 67-49 in the finals of the Lady Royals Christmas Tournament in mid-December and 59-47 in early February.
McQuerter believes, no matter the opponent, the game comes down to basic basketball principles.
"At this point in the season," said McQuerter, "we still have to defend, rebound and take care of the basketball to have any chance of winning."
WEST PLAINS -- The Scott County Central Bravettes are in the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.
The Bravettes upset top-ranked and undefeated Delta in the sectional game at Poplar Bluff 44-40 to advance.
The Bravettes (19-7) will play Walnut Grove (25-3) at the West Plains Civic Center tomorrow at 2:45 p.m.
Scott Central is led by Brittney Peet's 18 points per game. Samantha Jones chips in with 15 ppg.
The Bravettes will be shooting for their first final four appearance since 1995.