Cassville jumped out to a 15-2 lead and then survived a pair of McDonald County second-half surges that saw the Lady Mustangs close to within four points in the third and fourth quarters before the Lady Wildcats scored the final 12 points of the game for a 53-37 win in the opening round of the Missouri Class 4 District 10 Basketball Tournament on Feb. 26 at Cassville High School.
Cold shooting by the Lady Mustangs and the defense of Cassville's 6-3 Madi Stokes -- three blocks in the first four minutes -- sparked the Lady Wildcats to their quick start.
Cassville scored the first five points of the game before Meagan Mills hit a short jumper to get McDonald County on the board. Cassville then reeled off 10 straight points for a 15-2 lead before McDonald County cut the lead to 15-5 at the end of the first quarter.
The teams traded baskets in the second quarter, with the Lady Mustangs trailing 23-15 late in the first half when Cassville's Lauren Turner hit a three-pointer to give the Lady Wildcats a 26-15 lead at halftime.
Baskets by Mills and freshman Kristin Penn to open the third quarter sandwiched around a Cassville basket and field goals by Sam Frazier and Ragan Wilson cut the Lady Wildcat lead to 28-24 with 3:01 left in the third quarter.
But Stokes scored five consecutive points to help Cassville stretch the margin to 35-26 entering the fourth quarter.
Trailing 39-30 early in the fourth quarter, the Lady Mustangs again made a run. Mills and Penn hit back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to 39-34 with 4:39 left.
Stokes scored from the block, but Mills hit a three-pointer to cut the Cassville lead to 41-37 with 4:02 left in the game.
Cassville then hit eight free throws down the stretch, while the Lady Mustangs went scoreless for the final four minutes of the game to seal the Cassville win.
"We got off to a bad start offensively," said coach Blake Short. "We were getting OK shots, but we couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. We made good runs in the third and fourth quarters, but when Meagan (Mills) fouls out in the fourth quarter, that really killed us. She was playing well offensively and defensively. We battled hard, but they are 22-4 for a good reason. We went down swinging -- we were not going to quit. This group of girls played hard all year. Anyone who watched us knows how hard they play. We battled every game and I am extremely proud of the girls and glad I got to coach them."
Mills finished with 10 points to lead McDonald County. Rounding out the scoring for the Lady Mustangs were Penn with eight, Wilson with seven and Frazier and Rita Santillan six each.
Stokes led Cassville with 17 points.
McDonald County ends its 2017-2018 season with a 4-22 record.
McDonald County picked up its fourth win of the season with a 55-36 win over Monett on Feb. 23 at MCHS.
Monett jumped out to an 11-4 lead midway through the first quarter before Sam Frazier and Kristin Penn hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the margin to 11-10 at the end of the period.
Caitlyn Barton gave the Lady Mustangs the lead with the opening basket of the second period, and McDonald County never trailed again.
McDonald County led 18-15 at halftime and stretched the margin to 36-23 at the end of three quarters.
"This was a great win for us," said coach Blake Short. "We started out a little slow, but the first half ended on a positive note and we had a little momentum going into halftime. After the half, we attacked every lane. We led pretty much the whole game after we took the lead. Our seniors, Aspen (Bowman) and Meagan (Mills) did a really good job. Meagan has turned into a really good leader and she plays hard all the time. We will miss both of them. I am glad that both of them got to finish with a win on their home floor."
Frazier finished with 17 points to lead McDonald County, followed by Mills and Penn with nine points, Rita Santillan eight, and Ragan Wilson and Barton six each.
Monett outscored the Lady Mustangs 12-2 in the third quarter to key a 42-36 win in the junior varsity game.
McDonald County was led by Addy Mick with 10 points, followed by Kastie Kester with seven points, Lily Allman six, Barton and Jaylie Sanny four each, Sydney Killion three and Alexia Estrada two.
Third-ranked Carl Junction pulled away in the second half for a 51-23 win on Feb. 22 at Carl Junction High School.
The Lady Bulldogs led just 12-10 after the first quarter and 26-18 at halftime before outscoring the Lady Mustangs 25-5 in the second half.
Frazier and Mills each scored six points to lead McDonald County. Rounding out the scoring for the Lady Mustangs were Penn with four points, Wilson three and Santillan and Sanny two each.
Carl Junction outscored the Lady Mustangs 5-1 in the fourth quarter for a 26-24 win in the junior varsity game.
Estrada scored eight points to lead McDonald County, followed by Kester with seven points, Sanny three and Allman, Killion and Mollie Milleson two each.Sports on 03/01/2018
Print Headline: Quick Start Keys Cassville's District Win Over Lady Mustangs