(Photos by Josh Mills, Staff)
CHAFFEE -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs dropped their opening round game of the Chaffee Lady Devils Tournament on Monday evening. Knocking the Lady Bulldogs to the loser's bracket was the defending tournament champion Delta Lady Bobcats.
The 61-26 final score wasn't an indication of how all four quarters were played, but Sikeston head coach Homer Jackson said that turnovers bit the Lady Bulldogs down the stretch.
Sikeston trailed by just seven points at half, 27-20, but from there the Lady Bobcats poured in 22 points in the third quarter and 12 in the fourth behind Taylor Smith, who finished with a game-high 35 points. Smith had 21 of her 35 in the second half alone.
Jackson attributed the second half deficit to the turnover game, which allowed many fast breaks and open opportunities for Delta.
"In the second half, we got into a cycle of turnover, turnover, turnover, which led to frustration, and frustration led to lack of effort," he said. "It does something for the psychology to see the ball go into the basket, and we didn't see that. It was a long time before we saw that."
Behind Smith, Jodi Menz added 18 for the Lady Bobcats. Asia Liggins led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points.
Sikeston will now play Chaffee on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.
Earlier in the evening, the Oran Lady Eagles fell to the Scott City Lady Rams 52-43. The loss leaves the Lady Eagles idle until Saturday where they'll face the winner of the Sikeston/Chaffee game in the consolation championship at 1:30 p.m.
"We just came out pretty sloppy for the first game of the year," said Oran head coach Adam Friga. "We definitely didn't do a very good job in the first half. In the second half we came out with more intensity, but it was still sloppy."
"I'm not going to make any excuses," he added. "We didn't play very well tonight and we got beat."
Oran trailed by 10 at halftime, 27-17, outscored the Lady Rams in the second half 26-25, but still came up shy of the victory.
Cheyenne King led the Lady Eagles in scoring with 16 points and Stephanie Essner led Scott City with 22.
In the final game of the evening, the East Prairie Lady Eagles downed the host team 65-37 as they jumped out to a three point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, increasing their lead in each stanza.
The Chaffee Lady Devils mounted a slight comeback in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late as East Prairie provided themselves an opportunity to stick around until Saturday, which head coach Steven Douglas said has not happened in his recent memory.
Nine players scored in the win for the Lady Eagles, and Douglas said that the scoring tallies had a major role in the victory over Chaffee.
"The last two games, we've had two people score a lot and nobody else hardly score," said Douglas. "Tonight, I thought we had much more balance scoring. Everybody contributed and everybody off the bench contributed with good defense and good offense."
Leading the way for the Lady Eagles was Jennifer Nicholson with 14 points. Grace Swann added 13 and Mandy Knupp had 10.
East Prairie led 33-18 at halftime and in the second half they continued their success on the glass as they picked up rebounds and traveled the length of the floor with the outlet pass to Swann and the other guards.
"Our advantage tonight, which should have been speed and defense, it took a little while to get that started," Douglas said. "But, eventually we did and we rebounded the ball well and shot the ball a lot better tonight. It took a little while, and it was slow getting started, but finally we got in a little rhythm and started to play."
Amber Kirk led Chaffee with 11 while Anna Ayers added 10.