(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Led by Kayla Hicks' 21 points on the night, the Kelly Lady Hawks took a 13-point lead into the half against the Scott County Central Bravettes Monday, before cruising to a 63-32 win.
"I'm very proud of the way they came out from the beginning to the end with a positive attitude," Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter said. "We had a very good practice yesterday and, like I told the girls, this is when you start getting ready for districts.
"The girls are playing hard and playing focused right now."
Opening up the game on an 11-2 run in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game before the Bravettes started clicking on offense, the Lady Hawks were able to build off their early advantage to go up 27-14 entering the break.
To start the third, Darbe Backfisch bookended a 6-0 Kelly run to start the frame with a pair of buckets that pushed her team's lead to 19 points just over a minute into the quarter.
Keeping the Lady Hawks from going on a big run, however, Scott Central was able to keep pace with Kelly the rest of the frame, with a Mikaela Blissett basket right before the buzzer shaving the Bravettes deficit down to 18 to enter the fourth.
It was there, however, that the Lady Hawks put together their biggest frame of the night to dampen any hope of a Scott Central comeback.
Scoring 21 points, Kelly was able to engineer three separate 6-0 runs in the frame, the last one giving them their largest lead of the night at 61-30 off a Kaitlin Glastetter basket with 58 seconds left to play.
"We came out with a lot more confidence than we usually we do," Kelly's Kristen Powell said. "I think we won this game from beginning to end. We played a lot better."
Finishing right behind Hicks, Powell added 18 points to the Lady Hawks' cause while Kaitlin Glastetter had 10.
For Scott Central, Johniqua Fort and Derien Ditto had 12 and 10 points respectively.
With a roster that includes two sophomores, seven freshman and no upperclassman, Bravettes' head coach Semona Penrod hopes the experience her young team is getting now will eventually help them stay competitive later in games.
"I thought we played aggressive, we just can't shoot," she said. "We're not very good shooters yet. We have a lot of work to do, but I've seen some progress. I've seen some progress on defense throughout the season (as well as ball) movement, running the offense and running the floor a little bit.
"The same dog is biting us every night. The second half we come out and we kind of throw in the towel it seems like. Fortunately they are young so we have a long future together."
KELLY (63) -- Kaitlin Glastetter 10, Haley Glastetter 2, Darbe Backfisch 4, Karlie Ashcraft 4, Kristen Vetter 2, Kayla Hicks 21, Katie Koonce 2, Kristen Powell 18. FG 26, FT 10-23, F 17. (3-pointers: Kaitlin Glastetter 1. Fouled out: Hicks)
SCOTT CENTRAL (32) -- Mikaela Blissett 7, Johniqua Fort 12, Derien Ditto 10, Abby Ross 1, Daisy Gillespie 2. FG 10, FT 12-23, F 22. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: Ditto, Gillespie)