(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SCOTT CITY -- Improving to 8-1 in their last nine games, the Scott City Lady Rams overcame a dismal start against East Prairie on Monday for a 54-35 win.
"Just another page in the book of what we've been doing all year," Scott City coach Rickey Keller said. "We come out and play just enough to stay close in the first half.
"Then we come out in the third and fourth quarter and we play a completely different ball game."
Things couldn't have gone much worse for the Lady Rams in the first two quarters of play as their two leading scorers, Katie Hogan and Andrea Gray, combined for two points heading into the break.
Shooting only 4 of 24 from the floor and 6 of 17 at the free throw line as team, the Lady Rams (11-7) still entered the locker room within four-points of the Lady Eagles (5-10) at 18-14.
After being held without a basket in the first half, Gray kicked off Scott City's third quarter turnaround hitting three straight 3-point attempts in scoring nine of the Lady Ram's first 13 points in the quarter.
"She does that for our team a lot," Keller said of Gray. "She usually sets the tone and everybody just seems to follow every game."
Gray tied the game at 20-20 with her second 3-pointer of the night before Katie Rhymer went to the line for a pair of free throws following an East Prairie turnover.
Hitting both, Rhymer gave the Lady Rams a 22-20 advantage with 4:59 left in the frame.
A short jumper from East Prairie's Briana Strayhorn tied the game back up before Scott City retook the lead for good on a 6-0 run in the last 4:41 of the quarter.
Though the Lady Eagles were able to hang within seven points of the Lady Rams early in the final frame, Scott City went 9 of 17 from the floor and 4 of 5 from the charity stripe to outscore East Prairie 25-13 in the final eight minutes.
"The mindset was just completely different," Keller said of the second half. "I just wish we could start games in the second halves.
"If we could start games in the second halves we'd be a pretty decent team. Not that we're not, but we'd be a lot better."
While only coming away with three buckets in the first half, it was at the free throw line that East Prairie had pulled out its halftime lead, going 10 of 12 from the line in the first two quarters before finishing the game 16 of 27 (59 percent).
"Overall, our defense was good even though they made some shots in the second half," Lady Eagle coach Steven Douglas said. "I thought we worked hard and rebounded.
"Scott City's a talented team, but if we had just made the layups we got (it might have been a different game.) Our girls were altering their shots because they heard footsteps and we missed a lot that we wouldn't normally miss."
Leading the Lady Eagles charge was Caitlyn Harwell with 10 points while Courtney Carden, Rebekah Douglas and Kaitlyn Shands had six each.
"We got in some foul trouble with key people and that hurt us," Steven Douglas said. "Two of our three key scorers had three fouls (Rebekah Douglas and Shands) in the first half."
For the Lady Rams, Hogan and Gray had a game-high 12 points. All 12 of Gray's points came on three's in the second half as she shot 4 of 10 from the floor while grabbing six rebounds and four assists
Scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter alone, Hogan went 3 of 8 from the field while collecting 18 defensive rebounds, four blocks, six assists and four steals.
"That's the thing about her that people don't realize," Keller said of Hogan. "It's not all about the scoring. The nights she isn't scoring she's doing something else huge for the team.
"Even though she wasn't scoring a lot, she was drawing that defense away from everybody else. At times there were playing two defenders on her so we were 4 on 3 on the other side."
Lyndsie Robert finished the game with 10 points on 4 of 8 attempts.
As a team Scott City out-rebounded East Prairie 44-28.
Earlier in the night, the Lady Eagles junior varsity held off a late push by the Lady Rams junior varsity for a 49-42 win.
Getting 26 points from Shands in the first half alone, including six 3-pointers, the Lady Eagles took a 35-20 lead into halftime.
After going up by 22 entering the fourth, the Lady Eagles lead shrunk to as little as three with a minute to play as Scott City opened the final frame on a 22-1 push in the first seven minutes.
A basket by Jackie Archie and a pair of free throws in the final 53 second allowed East Prairie to hold on for the win.
Only playing the first two quarter, Shand led the Lady Eagles with her 26 points while Robert scoring a team-high 11 points for Scott City.
EAST PRAIRIE (35) -- Courtney Carden 6, Rebekah Douglas 6, Caitlyn Harwell 10, Kaitlyn Shands 6, Briana Strayhorn 2, Kailey Turner 5. FG 9, FT 16-27, F 18. (3-pointers: Shands 1. Fouled out: Shands.)
SCOTT CITY (54) -- Lyndsie Robert 10, Jessica Boswell 2, Katie Rhymer 5, Katie Hogan 12, Alexis Spriggs 4, Alicia Kern 9, Andrea Gray 12. FG 17, FT 14-26, F 23. (3-pointers: Gray 4, Hogan 2. Fouled out: Boswell.)