(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DELTA -- After fighting neck-and-neck with Meadow Heights for three straight quarters, Scott County Central saw a cold shooting fourth frame result in a 46-41 loss Wednesday in the opening round of the Delta New Year's Tournament.
"We just let the mental part of the game get to us," Bravettes' head coach Matt Limbaugh said. "We went cold in the fourth quarter, couldn't make a shot and Meadow Heights took advantage of it. That's how they won the game."
Scott Central, seeded fifth, built a 4-point lead going into halftime, but by the start of the fourth frame the Lady Panthers, seeded fourth, had knotted things up at 38.
The two teams were able to hang within a bucket of each other through the first four minutes of the fourth.
Meadow Heights' Hayley Thorne finally gave her team a little breathing room with 3:40 to play when a put-back pushed the Lady Panthers ahead 43-39.
The Bravettes had a chance to close within a score on their next several possessions as Meadow Heights struggled with turnovers.
Unfortunately for Scott Central, their shots continued to come up short and with two minutes left the Lady Panthers started to run down the clock.
A missed first shot on a one-and-one kept the Bravettes down only four points, but following a turnover, Meadow Heights hit a short jumper to extend their advantage to six.
As the final minute wound down, the Bravettes continued to send the Lady Panthers to the free throw line and by going 1 of 4 in their last two trips, Meadow Heights kept Scott Central in the game.
Still unable to find the net, however, the Bravettes weren't able to connect on their first field goal of the quarter until only eight seconds remained. That basket from Abby Ross put her team within four points.
After a Meadow Heights turnover, the Bravettes, however, were unable to get another shot off before time expired.
Not helping matters for Scott Central was two of the Bravettes' leading scorers, Mikaela Blissett and Annequenisha Dennis, getting into foul trouble in the second half.
Playing with only a six-girl rotation, Blissett had four fouls entering the fourth while Dennis picked up her fourth foul early in the final frame.
"We've been dealing with that the whole season and we'll have to deal with it the rest of the season," Limbaugh said of his team's short bench. "It's something we just have to overcome. We can't have any excuses. We just have to continue to fight hard and learn how to finish games."
For their part, the Lady Panthers played with a six-girl roster and faced four fouls on one of their girls before the half.
Dennis led the Bravettes' effort with 15 points on the night while Abby Ross and Blissett scored nine and eight points respectively.
Taylor Cureton had a game-high 16 points for the Lady Panthers with Thorne finished close behind with 15 points.
Scott Central stands at 2-4 on the year.
SCOTT CENTRAL (41) -- Mikaela Blissett 8, Johniqua Fort 7, Abby Ross 9, Ziaire Davis 2, Annequenisha Dennis 15. FG 16, FT 6-14, F 20. (3-pointers: Dennis 1. Fouled out: none.)
MEADOW HEIGHTS (46) -- Caitlin Cook 9, Kiana Hotop 2, Emma Cook 5, Taylor Cureton 16, Hayley Thorne 15. FG 17, FT 11-21, F 14. (3-pointers: Cook 1, Cureton 1. Fouled out: none.)
DELTA -- In the first upset of the Delta New year's Tournament, sixth-seeded St. Vincent rode a hot third quarter to a 51-37 win over third-seeded Oran Wednesday.
"We were real sluggish," Lady Eagles' head coach Ethan Evans said. "It showed that we hadn't played in about three weeks.
"I thought we had a good couple of practices leading up to this game, but our defensive intensity just wasn't there all night."
Oran held a 3-point lead coming out of halftime, but St. Vincent's Katie Mattingly guided the Lady Indians' to a 13-2 run coming out of the break. Mattingly scored 9-straight points for St. Vincent to start the half and with four minutes left in the third quarter the Lady Indians led 33-25.
A quick 3-pointer from Chrissy Sauceda, her fifth of the night, closed the Lady Eagles to within five points, but by the end of the third St. Vincent pulled back out to a 38-28 advantage.
Oran's struggles continued in the fourth.
With a minute to play they still trailed 47-37. The Lady Eagles sent the Lady Indians to the foul line several times in the final minutes trying to put together a comeback, but were unable to score a field goal in the final two minutes.
Leading Oran was Sauceda with 15 points on the night, all of which came on her five 3-pointers. Addie Kielhofner scored 11 points and Taylor Nenninger added seven.
Mattingly easily led the Lady Indians with 22 points and Kayla Winkler scored 11.
Oran falls to 2-3 on the season.
ORAN (37) -- Addie Kielhofner 1, Taylor Nenninger 7, Tatum May 2, Chrissy Sauceda 15, Hannah Scherer 2. FG 13, FT 6-12, F 16. (3-pointers: Sauceda 5. Fouled out: none.)
ST. VINCENT (51) -- Dani Hogard 4, Paige Yamnitz 3, Rachel Mudd 1, Casey Unterriener 6, Katie Mattingly 22, Kayla Winkler 11, Stephanie Hoyt 2, Abby Ruessler 2. FG 19, FT 12-19, F 15. (3-pointers: Winkler 1. Fouled out: none.)