(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
BLOOMFIELD -- Unable to rebound from a rough first half, the Charleston Lady Bluejays saw their season come to a close with a 75-56 loss to Doniphan in the opening round of the Class 3, District 1 Tournament on Saturday.
"We don't have a lot of depth and that showed," Charleston head coach Josh Thompson said. "The girls got in foul trouble and people off the bench weren't ready to play. We were missing a lot of things that we have succeeded at all year like rebounding and playing good defense.
"We played great in spurts, but we didn't play good enough for a sustained amount of time."
Despite opening up the game on an 11-2 run, the Lady Bluejays quickly found themselves in hole as Megan Hipps broke out for 14 points in the first frame to guide the Donnettes to a 18-13 advantage entering the second quarter.
Getting nine points from Raven Sturgeon and seven from Micah Smith, Doniphan outscored the Lady Bluejays 20-11 in the final eight minutes of the half to take a 14-point lead into the locker room.
"We came out and our press was effective," Thompson said of his team's early run. "Then instead of getting the ball we were just missing it and they were getting open looks at the baskets.
"We were leaving our feet too much defensively. They'd go for the shot fake, we'd go up, then they'd just go around us and make a little four or five foot jumper."
With their season quickly coming to a close, Charleston spent the first six minutes of the second half trying to stay in the ball game.
After trailing by 16 in the first minute of the third quarter, the Lady Bluejays got a bucket in the paint from E'Neikqua Ewing that kickstarted a five-minute 13-3 rally that had Charleston back within six.
While limiting Doniphan to a single basket and a free throw during that timeframe while playing a zone defense, the Lady Bluejays got seven points from Sierra Frazier, including a 3-pointer that forced the Donnettes to call a timeout while still leading 43-35.
After the two teams swapped free throws, Jameshia Hamilton closed Charleston to within six, at 43-37, with 2:31 left in the quarter.
It wasn't long after, however, the Donnettes were able to push their lead back into the double-digits and entered the fourth quarter with a 50-38 advantage.
Making one last push, the Lady Bluejays spent the first two minutes of the frame closing back to within seven points of Doniphan, at 51-44, but soon after saw their two star players, Ewing and Kasuela Cooper pick up their fourth fouls.
Limited with what they could do defensively the Lady Bluejays fell back down by 11, at 61-50, before Cooper fouled out with 2:32 to play with Ewing following her out of the game 30 seconds later to leave Charleston without their two leading scorers.
With the Lady Bluejays forced to foul as Doniphan milked away the remaining minutes, the Donnettes were able to close out the win by going 9 of 10 from the charity stripe in the final 2:10 of the contest.
"We have not been playing to our capabilities all season," Doniphan head coach Erika Smith said. "Right there is how I knew my girls could play and I'm very proud of them. They shot awesome from the free throw line and we've been struggling with that all year long.
"We don't (normally) shoot well form the line, maybe 50 percent. I've been telling them all week I don't care what we've done all season, right now is the time to shine and I'm glad they did."
Leading the Bluejays effort, both Hamilton and Frazier had a team-high 15 points on the day while Ewing finished with 14. Constantly a top scorer for Charleston, Cooper was held to eight points in her last game as a Lady Bluejay.
"She's played in three district finals and been one of our best players," Thompson said of Cooper. "She gave a lot to us today. Doniphan, credit them, they did a great job of taking her away."
For the Donnettes, Sturgeon had a game-high 22 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter alone and finished the night going 16 of 18 from the free throw line. Close behind was Hipps with 20.
On Hipps' strong performance Smith said, "She our point guard and, when she wants to take control, she can take control.
"We've been working on that all year long. She actually was out part of the season with an injury, but she's back now. That's how she can play basketball when she wants to play."
The Donnettes move on to play Kennett in the semifinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Charleston finishes their season at 13-11
CHARLESTON (56) -- Sierra Frazier 15, Juwanna Walker 4, Kasuela Cooper 8, E'Neikqua Ewing 14, Jameshia Hamilton 15. FG 19, FT 15-22, F 23. (3-pointers: Hamilton 2, Frazier 1. Fouled out: Cooper, Ewing.)
DONIPHAN (75) -- Carrie Rogers 2, Macah Smith 7, Lexi Czerwonka 20, Raven Teegarden 22, Megan Teegarden 2, Emily Stonecipher 2, Sinora Mohrmann 9, Halle McCaffrey 5. FG 22, FT 29-39, F 16. (3-pointers: Hipps 2. Fouled out: none.)
Held scoreless for the first 10 minutes of Saturday's contest, the East Prairie Lady Eagles fell to Twin Rivers 56-27 in the opening round of the Class 3, District 1 Tournament on Saturday.
"That first quarter has been our Achilles heel all year," East Prairie head coach Steven Douglas said. "We have just struggled in the first quarter and I don't know why. But the girls battled back and they kept playing all the way to the end."
Before Caitlyn Harwell hit a jumper to break up the Lady Eagles drought with 6:25 to play in the second quarter, the Lady Royals had opened the game on a dominant 26-0 run.
Harwell's shot broke the ice for East Prairie as they scored nine more points in the frame to enter the half trailing 32-11.
"(Twin Rivers) pulled the press off, but I don't think the press is what hurt us," Douglas said of the slow start. "Their matchup zone is what hurt us. The girls were standing instead of moving and we didn't get any offensive rebounds in the first half.
"Everything we shot was from the outside, I think we had one or two fouls in the first half. We didn't make them work. So then they come down here on the offensive end and they shot well, but we didn't do a good job on defense."
Unable to make up for their slow start, East Prairie was outscored 13-6 in the second quarter and 11-10 in the fourth.
"We're without a big player for us," Twin River's head coach Kelly Nole said referring to Tori Cole. She's leading us for sure in blocked shots and rebounds and she's probably our leading scorer as well.
"Maybe that's a blessing in disguise that some of our other girls are realizing some things they can do so they're stepping up and playing bigger than they have been all year.
Nole added, "Hopefully if she gets to come back, we're still day-to-day with her, we'll be stronger for it."
Alexa Stockton had 15 points to lead the Lady Royals while Sydni Hester and Hannah Sadler had 11 points each.
For the Lady Eagles, Harwell finished with 15 points with Rebekah Douglas adding eight to East Prairie's cause.
East Prairie finishes the season at 9-14 while Twin Rivers moves on to play New Madrid County Central in the semifinals on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
NMCC picked up their opening round win when their scheduled opponent, Caruthersville, forfeited just hours before the game.
TWIN RIVERS (56) -- Daniale Franklin 6, Taylor Galloway 1, Sydni Hester 11, Mallory 6, Alexa Stockton 15, Hannah Sadler 11, Ashley Kennedy 2, Alex Jones 4. FG 20, FT 12-20, F 5. (3-pointers: Franklin 2, Stockton 1, Jones 1. Fouled out: none.)
EAST PRAIRIE (27) -- Courtney Carden 2, Rebekah Douglas 8, Caitlyn Harwell 15, Alexa Nordwald 2. FG 12, FT 1-4, F 17. (3-pointers: Harwell 2. Fouled out: none.)
BLOOMFIELD -- Taking a 25-point lead into the break, the Kennett Lady Indians defeated Malden 59-20 to open the Class 3, District 1 Tournament on Saturday.
Audrey Wynne had a game-high 20 points for Kennett, including 10 in the first quarter, while Catherine Washington added 15 to the Lady Indians cause. Lara Abmeyer contributed 10 points and Morgan Pickens had eight.
KENNETT (59) -- Kenna Hounihan 1, Kaytlyn Parker 6, Alexandria Washburn 2, Morgan Pickens 8, Lara Abmeyer 10, Audrey Wynne 20, Logan Vaughan 2, Kathryn Shetley 2, Catherine Washington 5, Courtney Mcelhaney 1, Janeisha Gooden 2. FG 26, FT 3-6, F 5. (3-pointers: Parker 2, Abmeyer 2. Fouled out: none.)
MALDEN (20) -- Chelsey Telker 4, Randi Walker 3, Faith Hall 3, Khadijah Barnes 5, Savannah Jones 3, Kenya McCoy 2. FG 7, FT 4-6, F 7. (3-pointers: Walker 1, Jones 1. Fouled out: none.)