(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
BROSELEY -- Falling down by 20 points at the half, New Madrid County Central saw Neelyville hold on for a 73-34 win to earn third-place at the Lady Royals Classic Christmas Tournament.
"We just weren't ready to play," Lady Eagles' head coach David Crockett said. "We can't choose when we want to play and when we don't. We have to come ready to play every night. Tonight we didn't, it showed and the better team won."
After hanging within five of the Lady Tigers at 18-13 to end the first quarter, NMCC saw Neelyville's Brooke Sheppard put up 12 points in the second to help her team pull ahead 41-21 at the break.
Scoring six straight point to start the third, Neelyville continued to pull away, going up 47-21 when Emily Eaker forced a turnover before going for a layup.
Though NMCC was able to get on the board with a basket from Benesha Childress soon after, Neelyville connected on back-to-back buckets before a 3-pointer from Chelsie Kovach pushed the Lady Tigers ahead 55-23 midway through the quarter.
By outscoring NMCC 10-4 in the fourth, Neelyville was able to keep the clock running to a third-place tournament finish.
"I think we got after it on rebounds and dominated the paint," Lady Tigers' head coach Becky Hale said. We're still trying to figure each other out.
"We have a whole new crew from last year, but we're trying to put four quarters together of the way we can play. Hopefully that's starting to sink in."
After scoring the 1,000 point of her Lady Eagles career on Wednesday, Childress finished with a team-high 10 points on the night. She was also selected to the All-Tournament team.
"It's the first player I've had score 1,000 points," Crockett said of Childress. "As a coach that's a great accomplish, but it's also a great accomplishment for her and our program.
"It speaks volumes about how far our program has come. We have to continue to work hard and she's a big part of that."
He added about Childress, "She can score when she wants to score and she's very tough. Hopefully she'll continue to do that and who know what kind of records she may break and set."
NEELYVILLE (73) -- Darby French 2, Ashley Law 2, Jazmyne Smith 2, Emily Eaker 4, Harlee Prosise 5, Chelsie Kovach 13, Kayla Maupin 22, Caela Petty 2, Brooke Sheppard 21. FG 30, FT 12-17, F 15. (3-pointers: Kovach 1. Fouled out: none.)
NMCC (34) -- Amirah Ruff 5, Whitney Williams 3, Aqwanness Johnson 8, Benesha Childress 10, Karen McGloson 8. FG 16, FT 2-7, F 16. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)