NEW MADRID -- New Madrid County Central girls had a four-game win streak snapped while remaining winless in the SEMO Conference with a 74-46 loss to the visiting Jackson Lady Indians on Monday.
The Lady Eagles (6-8, 0-4 in conference) showed flashes of competent play, particularly on the boards, but failed to convert most second or third-shot opportunities.
"We missed some easy shots early and you can't do that against any of these big schools like the Jacksons and the Cape Centrals of the world," said NMCC coach Lance Tollison. "We've got to learn to take advantage of the easy opportunities we get."
Jackson (8-3, 3-0), after a scoreless two minutes of play to open the first quarter, ran out to a 9-0 lead before NMCC freshman Shameika Williams connected with 3:45 to go.
Williams, who led the Eagles with a game-high 24 points, scored all eight first-quarter points as NMCC trailed 21-8 after one quarter.
Turnovers and an inability to get back on defense haunted the Eagles as the Indians scored off ballhandling miscues and fastbreaks.
"Sometimes we handled the press, sometimes we didn't," Tollison said. "We just have to make better decisions."
In the penalty early in the second quarter, Jackson capitalized from the free-
throw line, hitting 10-of-12, 15-of-20 for the half.
NMCC, trailing 48-21 at the break, failed to get to the charity stripe in the first half. For the game, the Eagles hit 2-of-10 free throws.
"I was a little disappointed in some of our lackluster play in the first half," said Tollison, "but I was tickled to death the second half. I thought we did better on the boards and did a better job of running the floor."
The Eagles played the Indians fairly even in the third quarter which ended with Jackson up 62-34.
Williams' seven points, including a 3-pointer, and four points from senior Heavenly Wren led the Eagles third-quarter offense.
The Indians forged their biggest lead of the evening at 69-37 early in the fourth quarter, triggering the mercy clock, but a 9-1 NMCC run, ignited by Williams' six points, shut off the running clock while closing the gap to 70-46.
Behind Williams' leading 24, freshman post Jasmine Flennoy added 10 points.
Jackson, paced in scoring by Ashley Charbonneau with 18, Amanda Peiffer with 14 and Gabrielle Garritano's 11, outscored the Eagles by just a single point in the second half, 26-25.
"Usually we've had success against New Madrid and I think we came down here and thought we could just blow by them without doing anything," said Jackson coach Sam Sides. "Well, that wasn't the case. They (NMCC) worked hard."
Despite the relatively easy victory, Sides graded his team's performance low. "I thought we played sloppy," he said. "Our intensity wasn't very good and we can play a lot better. We just kind of showed up. We had a big game with Doniphan the other day and maybe we had a little letdown."
NMCC returns to action on Thursday, hosting another conference foe, Poplar Bluff.
Note: The Eagles, down to eight active varsity players, will have last year's starting point guard, junior Jasmine Beasley, available for the Poplar Bluff game.