POPLAR BLUFF - The Kelly Lady Hawks basketball team will battle the Doniphan Donettes in a Class 3 sectional matchup at Poplar Bluff High School on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.
This will mark the third straight season that the Lady Hawks and Donettes have met in the first round of the playoffs. In 2005, Doniphan defeated Kelly 65-50 and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Hancock 58-47.
Last year, Doniphan rolled past the Lady Hawks 58-23 and finished fourth in Class 3. Kelly has won 11 district titles, including three in a row, while Doniphan has won back-to-back titles for a total of 13 district championships.
Doniphan (23-5) is currently ranked No. 4 in Class 3, while Kelly (23-6) is ranked No. 7. The Donettes defeated Alton 61-59 to reach the sectional round, while Kelly dominated New Madrid County Central, 67-52, for the right to face Doniphan.
The Donettes are led by 5-foot-7 forward Morgan Davis, who was an All-
State selection last year. Davis is deadly from 3-point range and is averaging over 20 points per game.
Jaysa Blackwell is the point guard for Doniphan and likes to drive to the basket, but the junior can also drain the long range 3-pointer. Senior backcourt mate Haily Reed is also adept at driving to the hole or nailing a 3-
The Donettes have a solid frontcourt with seniors Angela Rodgers (5-8) and Carli Weathers (5-11). Junior Jordan Hart (5-10) sees significant minutes for Doniphan and is a defensive-stopper.
"Many people know about Davis," said Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter, "but Doniphan is by no means a one player team. They are a complete team, with a great work ethic. Coach (Jimbo) Blackwell likes his team to get up-and-
down the floor and pressure. They like to get turnovers and turn them into easy baskets. We must be patient on offense and handle their pressure if we expect to win."
Kelly is led in scoring and rebounding by sophomore forward Debra Hall (5-10). Hall is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game. Senior point guard Brittany Ponder (5-7) is the offensive catalyst for the Lady Hawks. Ponder is averaging 10 points, five assists and three steals per game.
Defensive specialist, junior Sarah Ruff (5-7), will probably get the assignment to defend Davis. Ruff seems to have unlimited energy and is averaging eight points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists per game.
Around the perimeter for the Lady Hawks, senior Nikki Weiny (5-6) and sophomore Katee Moore (5-7) both average seven points per game. Weiny also averages around three steals per game.
Junior Kayla Cissell (5-9) is usually the first person off the bench for Kelly. Cissell has steadily improved her play throughout the season and is averaging seven points and five rebounds per game.
McQuerter believes his team is ready for the rematch with the Donettes.
"The girls have a positive mind set and understand what it takes to win at this level," said McQuerter. "In the playoffs, the girls have to have maximum intensity to compete with teams like Doniphan. They have a lot of seniors and we understand this will be a big challenge, but I believe we will be prepared."