BROSELEY - The Dexter Lady Bearcats captured the championship with a 67-49 victory over the Kelly Lady Hawks in the 10th Annual Lady Royals Holiday Classic Tournament at Twin Rivers High School on Friday night.
In other action on the night, Naylor captured the third place trophy with a 58-41 win over Twin Rivers. Portageville dropped the fifth place game to Doniphan, 66-50. New Madrid County Central won the consolation final over Senath-Hornersville, 70-57.
In the championship game, Dexter switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-1-2 zone defense in the second quarter and changed the complexion of the game.
Kelly led after one quarter, 14-12, thanks in large part to the post play of sophomore Debra Hall. In the quarter, Hall had eight points and the Lady Hawks had some success driving hard to the basket.
After the first quarter, Dexter head coach Gavin Miller felt a change in strategy was needed for his club.
"Our main defense is playing man-to-man," said Miller, "but I am not ashamed to switch the defense if the right opportunity arises. Kelly did a nice job of driving hard to the basket and we did a bad job of sliding over in our man defense. I think the girls were a little scared that if they slid over, Kelly would make a pass to an open player. I decided to change the defense in the second quarter and I think it frustrated them a little."
With a change in defense set, Dexter went to work on offense in the second quarter, outscoring Kelly 15-8 to take a 27-22 lead into halftime. Katelyn Heil led the charge for the Lady Bearcats in the first half with 12 points, including two 3-pointers. Dexter outscored Kelly 5-0 to end the quarter.
Kelly continued to try and get the ball low to Hall and junior Sarah Ruff in the second quarter, but found little room with Dexter's new defense.
"We tried to get the ball down in the post," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter, "but we were unable to get the job done. I think the girls got a little frustrated and tried to force the issue at times which resulted in some turnovers. I give credit to coach Miller for having a great game plan and Dexter took advantage of the opportunities presented them."
The Lady Bearcats started the third quarter like they ended the first half, with a 5-0 run highlighted by a Heil 3-pointer to put Dexter up 32-22 with 6:11 to play in the quarter. Kelly was outscored 18-10 in the quarter.
"We got our offense going tonight," said Miller. "We seem to thrive when a team plays good hard-nosed man defense on us. Kelly plays excellent defense and we stepped up to the challenge and executed well on the offensive end."
Dexter is a young team and got excellent play out of a trio sophomores against the Lady Hawks. Heil burned Kelly for five 3's, point guard Jill Temples handled Kelly's full-court pressure like a skilled veteran and Ashlee Taylor had a solid night in the paint.
"Temples took care of the basketball and Katelyn was a big key to our win tonight," said Miller. "I like this team because it seems like every night, somebody different steps up and has a big game. We have had seven girls lead us in scoring already this year and it is a blessing to have a team like that. These girls work extremely hard and they know the game of basketball."
Kelly could not get going on the offensive end after the first quarter and were outscored by Dexter 33-18 in the deciding second and third quarters. In the contest, Kelly had 14 field goals, compared to 15 turnovers.
"The girls played hard and hopefully they will learn from this loss," said McQuerter. "Dexter is one of the top teams in the area and we knew we had to compete hard to play with them. We are a young team and we will only get better. I am pleased with the way the tournament went for us because nobody picked us to be here."
Hall led Kelly with 15 points and had five rebounds. Ruff continued her hard-
nosed style of play and ended the night with 13 points and also had five rebounds. Nikki Weiny had nine points off the bench for the Lady Hawks and Kayla Cissell led the team with six rebounds.
Heil led Dexter with 21 points and sister Cathryn Heil led the team with eight rebounds off the bench. Junior Amanda Dooley netted 15 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Lady Bearcats.
Temples ended her night with 10 points, seven assists and four rebounds. In addition, Dexter only committed eight turnovers in the contest. Taylor had nine points and six rebounds, while senior Haylee Finch had eight points and four rebounds (all offensive) off the bench for the Lady Bearcats.
Kelly (7-2) will be in action after the Christmas break on Jan. 4 at home against Sikeston. Tip is set for 6 p.m. for the junior varsity game.
Dexter (9-2) will battle Naylor on Jan. 6 at home. Game time is 4 p.m. for the Saturday matchup.
The Doniphan Donettes were hot beyond the 3-point arc and captured the fifth place trophy with a win over the Portageville Lady Bulldogs, 66-50.
Doniphan (8-1) hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter, seven in the first half and raced out to a 44-26 halftime lead. The Donettes came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed, but were upset by Twin Rivers in the quarterfinals.
"There are only two ways to go after a loss," said Doniphan head coach Jimbo Blackwell, "you can either pout about the loss or get back out there and try to get back on the winning track. I wasn't sure how the girls would play, but they responded well after the loss and I am proud of how hard the girls played."
Portageville began the game in a matchup zone, but changed into a man defense after the first quarter shooting display by Doniphan.
"Doniphan is a good passing team and they were skipping the ball well against our zone," said Portageville head coach Eric Ellerbrook. "They were working the ball around the perimeter and we were leaving gaps in the defense and they took advantage."
The Bulldogs had more two-point field goals than Doniphan, 18-17, but the Donettes hit nine 3's in the game and outscored Portageville 27-3 from beyond the arc.
"We have been living and dying at the 3-point line with our big girl out (Adja Jones out with knee injury)," said Blackwell. "We are shooting more from the outside than we normally would and thankfully it worked out for us tonight."
Despite the loss, Ellerbrook was pleased with the effort of his team.
"This is the best game we have played all year," said Ellerbrook. "Doniphan is a very good team and shot the ball very well tonight. The girls got after it and never gave up. I am very proud of the way the girls competed tonight."
Morgan Davis led Doniphan with 23 points and a team-high six rebounds. Haily Reed hit three 3-pointers on her way to 15 points. Chelsea Swindle had eight points off the bench for the Donettes and point guard Jaysa Blackwell led Doniphan with four assists.
Junior Kellye Penn led the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points and eight rebounds. Lauren Kellams chipped in with 11 points. Despite struggling from the field, senior Hannah Rone had seven rebounds and a game-high five assists. Portageville (10-3) will be back in action on Jan. 8 at South Pemiscot.
The New Madrid County Central Lady Eagles got 27 points from freshman Shameka Williams and downed the Senath-Hornersville Lady Lions, 70-57 for the consolation title.
"It is nice to get recognition with a trophy," said NMCC head coach Lance Tollison. "We finished the tournament with a 3-1 record and that is good no matter what side of the bracket you are on. The best thing about the win is that the girls are excited and hopefully this will be a good sign down the road for us."
The Lady Eagles led 30-19 at halftime and outscored the Lady Lions 25-20 in the fourth quarter to capture the win. Williams had 19 points for NMCC in the second half and fellow freshman Jasmine Flennoy pumped in nine points to pace the Lady Eagles.
"The key to the game was that we controlled the boards tonight," said Tollison. "We got a lot of second shots on our offensive end and limited them to one and out."
Senior Delisal Cole finished with 13 points and Flennoy ended her night with 12 points for NMCC. Senior Heavenly Wren was the other double-digit scorer for the Lady Eagles with 10 points.
NMCC (5-7) travels to Malden on Jan. 4. at 6 p.m.