(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
CHAFFEE -- With just over a minute left in regulation, the East Prairie Lady Eagles had their chance at getting over that hump.
The Kelly Lady Hawks gave East Prairie numerous chances late in the game on Monday night to defeat a team that has had their number in recent years.
Those chances went passing by as the Lady Eagles fell 52-49 in the first round of the Scott-Mississippi Conference Tournament at Chaffee High School.
"Kelly's one of those teams for us that we're trying to get over that hump," East Prairie head coach Steven Douglas said. "I told them, eventually, they're just going to have to do it."
The No. 6 seed East Prairie missed three out of four free throws, allowed Carissa Klipfel to grab a crucial offensive rebound from one of those missed free throws and had a pass stolen away by Ellen Ashcraft that spoiled a potential game-tying opportunity with 11 seconds left. All three of those events happened within the last minute of the game and East Prairie trailing by as little as two points.
"We had opportunities," Douglas said. "The free throw line was the difference. All we had to do was make our free throws and we would have been ahead. Unfortunately, we didn't make them."
Despite the missed chances during the late stages of the game, East Prairie successfully battled back from a 40-34 third quarter score to even have the opportunity at a close game.
Rianon Thresher scored six of her 12 points in the fourth quarter while Grace Swann, who cut a 42-36 deficit in half with a deep 3-pointer in the fourth period, scored five of her 11 points in the fourth as well.
Jennifer Nicholson led all East Prairie scorers, however, with 24 and led with nine rebounds as well. Nicholson also tried to draw an offensive foul call on a charging Kristen Powell in the opportunistic last minute but the call went the other way sending Powell to the line.
"Jennifer had a great game tonight," said Douglas. "She worked on both ends. As long as we work and keep hustling I can be proud of that. We haven't played in a month and I would like to think that made a difference."
The No. 3 seeded Lady Hawks were paced by Powell's game-high 26 points and seven rebounds. She was also big in the last minute for her squad as she extended a once three-point lead to a 51-46 advantage with two successful free throws.
"I'm very proud of my girls," Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter said. "Each game they play I'm proud of them because no one expects us to do what we're doing. What more can you ask for? We're playing until Thursday. That's our goal to play the last day of all of our tournaments."
Ashcraft, who finished with eight points, gave Kelly their final of 52-49 with a made free throw with 11.1 left on the scoreboard.
"They just have a good attitude," McQuerter said about his team. "They have a very positive attitude and I'm very blessed to be able to coach these girls. Win or lose."
Kelly (7-3) moves on to the semifinal round where they will take on the winner of the Scott City-Scott County Central game, which takes place tonight at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. East Prairie (4-5) was eliminated from the tournament.
EAST PRAIRIE (49) -- Mandy Knupp 2, Rianon Thresher 12, Grace Swann 11, Jennifer Nicholson 24. FG 16 FT 16-27 F 20 (3-pointers: Swann. Fouled out: none.)
KELLY (52) -- Londyn Backfisch 9, Carissa Klipfel 2, Neely Tetley 2, Kayla Hicks 3, Ellen Ashcraft 8, Samantha Fisher 2, Kristen Powell 26. FG 16 FT 18-30 F 22. (3-pointers: Ashcraft, Powell. Fouled out: Fisher.)
The Charleston Lady Bluejays breezed by their first-round opponent as they blistered the host Chaffee Lady Devils 69-34.
Charleston was led by Kasuela Cooper's 20 points while Jerquawnda Sherrell added 13 and Eneikqua Ewing chipped in with 12.
Anna Ayers led the Lady Devils (1-9) with 10 points.
Charleston (8-2) awaits the winner of the Delta-Oran matchup that takes place tonight at 6 p.m. The Lady Bluejays will play the winner on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
CHAFFEE (34) -- Randi Wiley 9, Adrienne Eichhorn 2, Taylor Kirchdoerfer 8, Anna Ayers 10, Hannah Bedwell 4, Hailey Enderle 1. FG 13 FT 6-11 F 11. (3-pointers: Kirchdoerfer 2. Fouled out: none.)
CHARLESTON (69) -- Gabrielle Quinn 4, Jerquawnda Sherrell 13, Chelsie Lane 4, Taylor Duenne 6, Kasuela Cooper 20, Jalisa Bogan 2, Jasmine Spence 4, Eneikqua Ewing 12, Emily Brashear 2, Victoria Smith 2. FG 32 FT 3-11 F 14. (3-pointers: Sherrell 3, Duenne 2. Fouled out: none.)