(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
CHAFFEE -- For 24 minutes of Tuesday evening's contest the Oran Lady Eagles gave the Delta Lady Bobcats a major fit. Intense defensive pressure and great ball movement held the Lady Eagles in tact as they tried to advance to the semifinal round of the Scott-Miss Conference Tournament in Chaffee.
Even still, Delta clung tight to a small lead, and as the fourth quarter wore on, they did just enough to earn the win and advance.
The game was an all-out battle from the tip. Both squads struggled to put large numbers on the board as the Lady Bobcats led 8-7 after one and 18-12 at the break. Delta's Taylor Smith and Oran's Abbey Anderson volleyed 3-pointers in the second quarter, but Smith's total of three aided her squad's small run.
"To hold them (Delta) to 18 points in the first half -- we need to be leading right there," said Oran head coach Adam Friga after the game. "But, we only scored 12."
At the start of the third quarter, the Lady Eagles pulled within two points rather quickly behind two field goals. At 5:32 they finally evened the score, 21-21, but by the end of the quarter Delta maintained the lead 34-29.
A turnover to start the fourth quarter squandered a chance for Oran to pull closer and Smith took advantage just moments later by knocking down her fifth 3-pointer of the game. The Lady Eagles then battled the bonus as they entered foul trouble early in the final frame.
Although Delta struggled from the line on Tuesday, their 13 free throws in the fourth kept the ball out of Oran's hands. They knocked down just six and finished the night going just 13-for-23 from the charity stripe.
Down the stretch, the Lady Eagles pulled within seven, but that would be as close as they would get as Delta freshman Machela Van Gennip took control of the game when it mattered. Van Gennip scored eight quick points in a stretch of about four minutes that helped extend the Lady Bobcats' lead to 17 points at one time in the fourth.
As time expired, Delta advanced with a 51-37 victory while Oran fell from the tournament.
Friga attributed the loss to poor shooting.
"We just shot the ball poorly as a team tonight," he said. "Nobody shot the ball well. We had a lot of good looks."
Delta head coach Mark Verticchio said after the game that Oran's zone offense was a tough task to defeat. Friga said the zone offense worked well against the Lady Bobcats' defense.
"I thought in our zone offense we did a good job of working the ball tonight," said Friga. I think tonight, more than anything, we had about a three or four minute spell where we didn't play well.
"Defensively tonight, we got after them. We got down and guarded them. When they did score tonight, they were contested and they earned everything they got tonight."
Smith led all scorers with 20 points while Van Gennip added 12, all of which came in the second half. Tori Burton finished with 10 to round out the Delta scorers in double figures.
Oran was led by Cheyanne King, who wrapped up the night with 16 points. Anderson finished with six, behind two 3-pointers, while Claire Seyer matched her with six points as well.
Friga said that the Lady Eagles, now 4-5 on the season, are in the toughest part of their schedule and that he keeps preaching to his players to keep working hard and keep trying to get better.
Their next test will be against Delta, once again, next week in regular season play.
The Lady Bobcats will take to the court again tonight, against the Charleston Lady Bluejays.
ORAN (37) -- Abbey Anderson 6, Claire Seyer 6, Haley Glastetter 4, Taylor Irwin 5, Cheyanne King 16. FG 17, FT 1-1, F 16. (3-pointers -- Anderson 2. Fouled out -- Anderson)
DELTA (51) -- Taylor Smith 20, Katie Brucker 4, Kendra Burnett 2, Machela Van Gennip 12, Tori Burton 10, Courtney Burton 3. FG 16, FT 13-23, F 12. (3-pointers -- Smith 5, T Burton 1. Fouled out -- none)
Scott City 57,
Scott Central 27
In the nightcap, the Scott City Lady Rams took their time in the first quarter to get their offense going, but as the clock ticked away, they were able to put away the Scott Central Bravettes by a final of 57-27.
The Bravettes battled the No. 2 seed quite heavily in the first quarter and maintained a toughness in the second but post player Katie Hogan put the Lady Rams on her back as Scott City led 30-15 at the break. Hogan scored 13 of her 21 points in the first 16 minutes.
In the second half, the Lady Rams proved why they came into the contest as the second seed in the tournament. A 20-point third quarter extended the lead to the mercy clock, where it began at the start of the fourth quarter.
Scott Central didn't roll over in the fourth quarter however. Instead, they matched Scott City point-for-point in the frame, but in the end they still trailed by 30, falling from the tournament with the loss.
Scott City head coach Kerry Thompson said after the game that his squad didn't come out ready to play from the tip.
"That's my fault as much as it is anybody," said Thompson of the poor early showing. "But, sometimes you have to allow them to grow. That's what I told them at halftime, that they went out there and they weren't ready.
"I won't say that we played really good in the second half, but I will say that the players I saw in the second half were better than they were in the second half. If we're not focused tomorrow night, then we'll be playing in the third place game."
Thompson complimented the Bravettes' performance in the contest, commenting on their one-month layoff from game activity and said that he told his squad at halftime that it appeared that Scott Central wanted the game more than his own team.
"You can't look at seeds," said Thompson. "You have to show up to play."
At the end of the day, the Lady Rams provided plenty of offense to earn a bid to the next round. Ten players reached the score book with Hogan leading the way with 21 points. Stephanie Essner added nine in the win for Scott City.
Markita Mosley led Scott Central with 11.
The Lady Rams, now 7-2 on the season, will square off with the Kelly Lady Hawks tonight in semifinal action at 8:30 p.m.
SCOTT CENTRAL (27) -- Katie Ruedrich 4, Monae Johnson 2, Denise McClinton 3, Amber Fritz 7, Markita Mosley 11. FG 10, FT 7-19, F 15. (3-pointers -- none. Fouled out -- none)
SCOTT CITY (57) -- Stacey Heisserer 4, Stephanie Essner 9, Melanie Lacey 2, Kristen Keesee 2, Katie Hogan 21, Holli Shemonia 6, Tiffany Merritt 5, Michaela Cobb 1, Ashley Brant 5, Emily Echols 2. FG 24, FT 8-17, F 15. (3-pointers -- Hogan 1. Fouled out -- none)