(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHAFFEE -- In part by holding Scott City scoreless in the second quarter on Monday, Delta ensured that there would be a new champion at this year's Lady Devils Invitational Tournament.
Locking up their 11th-straight trip to the finals, the Lady Bobcats held off a late surge by the two-time defending champion Lady Rams in the semifinals for a 44-38 win.
"We had some kids that didn't get a rest that just gutted it out," Delta head coach Randall White said. "(Machela) VanGennip I thought really hung in there and (Macey) Parks really, really stayed in there.
"Both teams did well at times and made mistakes at times, but we'll take a 'W' every time to get to the finals."
Never trailing, Delta forced 10 turnovers to Scott City's five in the first half as they turned a two-point lead after the first quarter into a 17-7 advantage going into the break.
Capping a low scoring first half, the Lady Bobcats slowed down the game on offense while playing a flawless eight minutes of defense to shut the Lady Rams out.
It was Lyndse Hamby and VanGennip scoring four points each in the frame, that pushed the Lady Bobcats ahead by 10 going into the third.
"They had a good game plan and dictated the pace of the game," Lady Rams' head coach Ricky Keller said of Delta. "We just didn't react. When you score zero points in the second quarter it's hard to win anything."
After a sluggish first half, the Lady Rams offense roared to life in the third quarter, outscoring Delta 21-12 to close to within a point heading in to the final frame.
The biggest part of that run came late in the quarter right after VanGennip hit a 3-pointer to put the Lady Bobcats up 28-16 with 3:04 left in the frame.
Just second later, at the 2:54 mark, Katie Hogan was fouled going to the basket, connecting on both the shot and enduing free throw to open up a 12-1 Lady Rams.
That run came to a close when Lyndsie Robert connected on a pair of free throws with under a second remaining in the quarter to close Scott city to within one.
"We came out and said we do not want (Katie Rhymer) and (Hogan) to get loose," White said. "There was times that it didn't look like we knew where they were."
Though they'd never take the lead, the Lady Rams were able to hang within a basket of Delta until the Lady Bobcats got the ball with under a minute left leading 38-36 and started milking the clock.
Forced to foul Scott City watched VanGennip sink 6 of 6 free throws in the final 38 seconds to seal Delta's win.
"We had an outstanding quarter in the third, but you can't wait until then to show up," Keller said. "You have to play all the way through and I think they were wanting it a little bit more than we were."
In leading the Lady Bobcats' charge VanGennip finished the night with a game-high 25 points with 16 of those coming in the second half. She had Delta's lone 3-pointer in the game and went 12 of 15 from the free throw line.
Tori Burton and Hamby added seven and six points to the Lady Bobcats cause.
For the Lady Rams, Hogan had a team-high 14 points on the night, 12 of which came in the second half, to go along with nine rebounds, a steal and three blocks.
Brittany Kiefer contributed nine points and eight rebounds to the Lady Rams effort while Rhymer and Robert had six points apiece.
On the game Scott City was outrebounded 30-25.
With the finals now set, Delta will face the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the tournament championship.
It will be a chance for Delta to grab its fifth title in its finals streak of 11 games while the Lady Bulldogs will be making their first appearance in the championship game since they won it all in 2005.
Right before the title game, Scott City will play Woodland for third place at 3 p.m. with Kelly and East Prairie starting the day off at 1:30 p.m. with the consolation bracket championship.
The consolation semifinal game between Oran and East Prairie scheduled for Thursday was not played because Oran was unable to field enough players due to injury.
DELTA (44) -- Lyndse Hamby 6, Machela VanGennip 25, Macey Parks 4, Tori Burton 7, Myra Henson 2. FG 14, FT 15-24, F 16. (3-pointers: VanGennip 1. Fouled out: none.)
SCOTT CITY (38) -- Lyndsie Robert 6, Katie Rhymer 6, Katie Hogan 14, Brittany Keifer 9, Alicia Kern 3. FG 14, FT 7-15, F 19. (3-pointers: Rhymer 1, Hogan 2. Fouled out: Kern.)