(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- Picking up its fourth-straight win to start the season, New Madrid County Central used a strong third quarter to fend off a resilient Scott County Central team 76-66 on Monday.
"We came out flat in the first half, especially right out of the gate," Lady Eagles' head coach David Crockett said. "We played a lot better in the second half. Scott Central made us do some things we're not comfortable with right now."
After swapping leads with the Bravettes through the first half and into the early stages of the second, NMCC started to take charge with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
That's when a layup from Amirah Ruff put the Lady Eagles ahead for good at 36-34. Ruff's basket was part of a two-minute, 10-point run that saw NMCC go from trailing by two to leading 42-34 with 4:01 left in the frame.
Scott Central scored three-straight baskets to close the gap back to two, but a 6-0 run by NMCC to end the quarter left them ahead 54-44 heading into the final frame.
"I just felt like eventually our depth was going to take over," Crockett said. "They were tired and we were tired. But we just kept going, battling and pushing. Luckily the ball fell our way a few times."
NMCC went on to control much of the fourth quarter, thanks in part to nine points from Karen McGloson. Even with leading scorer Benesha Childress forced to the bench with foul trouble just a few minutes into the frame, the Lady Eagles were able to take their biggest lead of the night, at 76-58, with two minutes to play.
While a comeback looked improbable, the Bravettes went on a quick, one minute, six-point run slashing their deficit to 12 with a minute still left on the clock.
A series of turnovers on their next few possessions however, prevented Scott Central from ever closing their deficit back into the single digits.
"We came out fairly well at first," Scott Central head coach Matt Limbaugh said. "Rebounding is a big thing we need to correct and New Madrid had some big girls. That was the reason why we struggled at rebounding tonight.
"Overall, a good effort by the girls and it was great to play a talented team like New Madrid this early in the season."
Senior Annquenisha Dennis had a 22-point effort for the Bravettes (1-2) with 10 of those coming in the third quarter. With eight points in the fourth quarter, Mikaela Blissett was able to finish her night with 18 total. Abby Ross and Derien Ditto contributed 12 and 10 respectively.
For the Lady Eagles, Benesha Childress had a game-high 25 points while McGloson and Rashaunda Summers had 13 points each.
SCOTT CENTRAL (66) -- Mikaela Blissett 18, Johniqua Fort 2, Derien Ditto 10, Abby Ross 12, Ziaire Davis 2, Annquenisha Dennis 22. 29, FT 8-13, F 16. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)
NMCC (76) -- Dallas Campbell 2, Amirah Ruff 6, Whitney Williams 9, Aqwanness Johnson 8, Benesha Childress 25, Karen McGloson 13, Rashaunda Summer 13. FG 33, FT 8-18, F 16. (3-pointers: Childress 1, Summers 1. Fouled out: Childress.)