The Lady Hawks, No. 3 seed in the 12th annual Lady Royals Holiday Classic Tournament at Broseley, showed everybody who they were Monday night. Beating the No. 6 seed Lady Bluejays 49-32 in what Charleston head coach Micheal Minner coined as "a dog fight."
"It was physical and we talked about it. I'm just not sure if we were prepared for how physical they were gonna play," said Minner. "But I was very proud of our intensity. We played extremely hard for all four quarters tonight.'
Action got underway quick for the No. 6 seed when guard Jerquawnda Sherrell took a steal in for a layup for an early 2-0 advantage. But Kelly's Debra Hall would soon respond with six straight unanswered points to gain a 6-2 lead.
It was during this period where the Lady Hawks really began to gain momentum as an untimely scoring drought, as well as missed free throws, plagued the Lady Bluejays during an 11-0 Kelly run.
"We just didn't play well enough to win tonight," said Minner. "We didn't hit our shots, missed a ton of free throws and didn't connect on a lot of chippies around the basket that we normally hit.
"You got to give a lot of credit to Kelly though. They're a great ball team and they're in excellent shape too. They deserved the win tonight."
Charleston was 1-14 during the second quarter from the charity stripe, 7-27 for the game.
As for the Lady Hawks, Kelly's defense held Charleston to 10 first half points while connecting for 27 to take a commanding lead at halftime.
"It all goes back to defense," said Kelly's head coach Rod McQuerter. "I told the girls we focus souly on defense it's what keeps you in games.
"But you got to give credit to Charleston, they came out with intensity and are well coached. Both teams really strapped it up tonight and played hard.
The No. 6 seed finally found their stride in the second half, getting points in the second half. But it proved to be too little too late as the higher Kelly seed was able to trade baskets with the Lady Bluejays, keeping them from striking distance.
"I was really proud of my girls for coming out and keeping a positive attitude throughout the game," said McQuerter. "We're not the most talented team in this tournament but if we play defense and keep a positive attitude then we can be competitive.'
Kelly (6-0) was lead by Hall who had a game-high 21 points while Londyn Backfisch got in on the action with 14. Charleston (6-1) was lead by Kasuela Cooper who netted nine points.
The Lady Hawks will take on the No. 2 seed Portageville Lady Bulldogs in semifinal action at 8 p.m. on Friday. As for the Lady Bluejays, they will try to bounce back against the No. 7 seed Greenville Lady Bears earlier that day at 5 p.m.
The No. 2 seed Portageville Lady Bulldogs earned a hard fought win over the No. 7 Greenville Lady Bears in the night cap game, 46-36.
Portageville (9-0) managed to extended their three point halftime lead to 33-27 heading into the fourth quarter where timely baskets and free throws prevented the Lady Bears from getting back in it.
Leading the way for the No. 2 seed was senior guard Brittney Walker with 17 while Tara Porter had the game high for Greenville (5-4) with 18.
The No. 9 seed Kennett Lady Indians proved to be little contest for the top seeded Lady Bearcats Monday afternoon as Dexter rolled to a 63-21 victory.
The No. 1 seed gained control early, holding their opponent to just two first quarter points before heading into the locker rooms at half time up 37-10. This was all the Lady Bearcats need as they worked the clock in the second half for 63-21 win.
Leading the way for Dexter (9-0) was Katelyn Heil who netted 22 points with two 3-pointers. Ashlee Taylor had the hot hand from beyond the arc however, with four 3-pointers and 17 points.
Kennett (4-3) was lead by Hope Sparks who had six points for the game.
Up next for the top seed will be the No. 5 seed Naylor Lady Eagles Friday at 6:30 p.m. while Kennett will take on the No. 13 seed Clearwater Lady Tigers early that day at 3:30 p.m.
The Naylor Lady Eagles took on the Clearwater Monday afternoon, beating the Lady Tigers 46-25.
The No. 5 seed Lady Eagles found themselves in a close ball game against the No. 13 seed early on, only up 13-10 after one quarter of play. But their size and experience soon paid off, holding the Lady Tigers to just two points in the second quarter before reaching the 46-25 final.
Moriah Goodrum lead the way for the winning team with 14 points while Holly Deckard added 10 in the win. Clearwater's leading scorer was Lindsay Bell who had 10.
The No. 11 seed New Madrid County Central Lady Eagles bounced back nicely after falling in first round play, to beat the No. 14 seed Malden Lady Green Waves 58-30.
The Lady Eagles (2-5) defense really stepped up early, holding the Lady Green Wave to just 11 first half points, leading 24-11 at the half. And they never looked back.
NMCC had three players in double digits as Shameika Williams lead the way with 22. Shanequa Daniels and Jasmine Flennoy both had 14. For the Green Wave, Keyeon Stone lead her team with eight points.
The No. 11 seed will take on the host No. 10 seed Twin Rivers Lady Royals Friday at 2 p.m.
The host Twin Rivers Lady Royals knocked the No. 15 seed Sikeston Lady Bulldogs out of the tournament Monday afternoon, beating the visitors 52-43.
The Lady Bulldogs overcame a small half time deficit to tie the game 35-35. But the Lady Royals would pull away in the fourth to seal the win.
Leading the way for the Lady Royals (4-4) was Torey Davis who had 16 while Chealsea Crain got in on the action with 12 and two 3-pointers. Sikeston (0-6) was lead by Asia Liggins with 15 and Tyanne Townsend who had 14.
The No. 8 seed Doniphan Donettes defeated the No. 16 seed East Carter County Redbirds 67-38 in the first game of Monday's tournament action.
Junior Erin Pennington lead the way for the Donettes with 23 points while Hannah Netherland got in on the action with 13. Kadie Civils also had double digits for the No. 8 seed with 11. East Carter was lead by Lindsey Crowley with 12 points in their final game of the tournament.
Up next for Doniphan (3-2) will be the No. 4 seed Neelyville Lady Tigers, who were upset in first round action, Friday at 12 p.m.
The Neelyville Lady Tigers out matched the No. 12 seed Senath Lions, 56-29.
The Lady Tigers proved to be too much for the Lions early on, taking a 28-13 lead at halftime and never looked back.
Leading the way for the No. 4 seed was Brittany McElhaney with 14 while both Kaitlyn Morgeson and Lindsey Emerson got in on the action with 11. For Senath, Seelena Neal lead her team with 15.