The No. 4 seeded Delta was able to withstand a third quarter run from the Lady Rams and hold on to clinch the Scott-Mississippi Conference Championship on Thursday night with a 53-42 win.
"Getting down 10 in the first half is what beat us," Scott City head coach Kerry Thompson said. "If you give them any kind of space for the three, especially Taylor, they're going to hurt you."
Coming into Thursday's championship game, Scott City (7-4) was wanting to try and contain Delta's dangerous 3-point shooters with the 2-3 match-up zone. Unfortunately, a few late switches between shooters left Smith open a few too many times in the second quarter.
A once four-point lead quickly grew to a 10-point lead after Smith's third 3-pointer of the period. Delta (10-3) took a 30-20 advantage with them into the locker room at halftime.
"Probably should have changed defenses sooner," Thompson said. "That cost us."
The second half was a bit different as the Lady Rams stuck Stephanie Essner in Smith's hip pocket. Essner had the assignment of sticking with Smith wherever she went on the court. It slowed Smith down enough that she was held to two points in the third quarter.
"Taylor got a little upset," Delta head coach Mark Verticchio said. "They were on her tight. "
With Smith under Essner's watch and Scott City in a man-to-man full-court defense, the Lady Rams were able to come back from their 10-point deficit to tie the game at 38 points apiece after Essner was successful on a conventional three-point play. Essner had nine of her 12 total points in the third quarter including two 3-pointers.
"That's probably my fault sticking with the zone too long and not changing defenses quicker," Thompson said. "Sometimes we over-coach. Sometimes we do that instead of just coaching."
Scott City was down by just two points, 40-38, entering the fourth quarter. However, that momentum did not carry over with them into the final eight minutes. Delta held the Lady Rams to just four fourth quarter points while they went on to score 13 with freshman Machela VanGennip taking over the role as point guard with Smith being guarded so closely.
"We regained our composure," Verticchio said. "I think what helped that was we let Machela come out and handle the ball. That really helps Taylor a lot when she's able to do that."
"We had the momentum going," Thompson said, "and I was just hoping to get it changed back to our side in the fourth quarter and they didn't allow us to do that."
Smith led the Lady Bobcats with 18 points and five steals. Tori Burton added 13 while VanGennip had 11.
"To be honest, they were upset about their seed," Verticchio said about his team. "When the seed came out and they were the fourth. They thought they were a little bit disrespected. They wanted to prove that they were a better team than the No. 4 seed. I think all of the coaches that ranked them fourth or fifth can maybe say 'wait, we maybe made a mistake.'"
Senior Ashley Brant led the Lady Rams with 16 points and played a crucial role in the first half to holding the Lady Bobcats lead to just 10 points at the half. She had 10 of Scott City's 20 first half points.
"I thought Ashley Brant played a very good ball game," said Thompson. "I thought she kept us in it in the first half. She kept it from being worse than a 10-point lead at half."
Essner was Scott City's second leading scorer with 12 points. Katie Hogan chipped in with eight.
"I'm definitely happy and proud with our performance in the tournament," Thompson said. "We're a little disappointed. But, any team could have won this thing. Our goal was to play three nights and I didn't mean the third place game. So, they did what I asked we just didn't finish the job."
SCOTT CITY (42) -- Stephanie Essner 12, Katie Hogan 8, Holli Shemonia 2, Macy Heisserer 3, Tiffany Merritt 1, Ashley Brant 16. FG 17 FT 4-7 F 16. (3-pointers: Essner 3, Heisserer 1. Fouled out: Melanie Lacey.)
DELTA (53) -- Ashley Glaus 3, Taylor Smith 18, Kendra Burnett 2, Machela VanGennip 11, Tori Burton 13, Samantha Bartels 6. FG 21 FT 6-17 F 12. (3-pointers: Smith 4, Bartels 1. Fouled out: none.)
Charleston 63, Kelly 52
The Charleston Lady Bluejays came away with the third place Scott-Mississippi Conference plaque on Thursday night with a 63-52 victory over the Kelly Lady Hawks.
Charleston (9-3) pulled away in the third quarter outscoring the Lady Hawks 18-9.
Kasuela Cooper led the Lady Bluejays with 24 points while Jerquawnda Sherrell added 18.
Kelly (7-5) was led by Kristen Powell's 17 points.
KELLY (52) -- Haley Glastetter 5, Londyn Backfisch 9, Carissa Klipfel 3, Kristen Vetter 7, Neely Tetley 2, Kayla Hicks 9, Kristen Powell 17. FG 20 FT 11-23 F 25. (3-pointers: Glastetter 1. Fouled out: Klipfel.)
CHARLESTON (63) -- Jerquawnda Sherrell 18, Chelsie Lane 5, Taylor Duenne 1, Kasuela Cooper 24, Lakiesha Wilson 6, Jasmine Spence 2, Eneikqua Ewing 7. FG 23 FT 15-32 F 21. (3-pointers: Sherrell 2. Fouled out: none.)
Kelly 36, Scott City 33
It took an extra two minutes to decide who was going to take home the Scott-Mississippi Conference junior varsity crown on Thursday night as the Kelly Lady Hawks took care of the Scott City Lady Rams in overtime 36-33.
With 5.9 seconds left in regulation Katie Koonce tied the game at 33 points apiece with one of two free throws made to send it into overtime.
After a 1-of-2 performance from Bridgett Chandler, who led all scorers with 17 points, put the Lady Hawks up by one point in the OT, Koonce sealed it with just 5.8 seconds showing on the clock with two successful free throws.
Koonce finished with nine points while Karlie Ashcraft chipped in seven.
Alicia Kern led the Lady Rams with 11 points. Alexis Spriggs and Andrea Gray each added six points respectively.
SCOTT CITY (33) -- Julie Holder 1, Katie Rhymer 4, Jenna Cummins 2, Jessica Boswell 3, Alexis Spriggs 6, Alicia Kern 11, Andrea Gray 6. FG 15 FT 3-7 F 20. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: Rhymer, Gray.)
KELLY (36) -- Bridgett Chandler 17, Karlie Ashcraft 7, Jessica Worth 3, Katie Koonce 9. FG 10 FT 16-25 F 12. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)