It didn’t take a last-second rally for the Neosho girls to slip past the Joplin Lady Eagles this time. In fact, this game was nothing like the season opener, which the Lady Wildcats won, 51-48.
This time, on Friday at the 16th Annual Freeman Lady Eagles Classic at Missouri Southern, the Lady Wildcats imposed their will on the Lady Eagles. Neosho dominated the contest in all phases and thumped Joplin, 48-19.
Defense was the key for the Lady Wildcats. After allowing 22 points to Joplin’s Bailey Taylor in their last match up, the Lady Wildcats held her to four on Friday. Only three Lady Eagles scored in the game. Samantha Stout hit three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points while Danielle Hollingshead finished with two.
But the main factors in the game were Joplin’s turnovers and inability to get shots to fall. Credit the Lady Wildcats’ defense for helping created 34 turnovers, including 25 in the first half alone. The Lady Eagles struggled from the floor with an 18.8-percent clip in the first half, and 15-percent efficiency from the floor in the second to finish at 16.7-percent from the floor in the game.
The Lady Wildcats, meanwhile, took advantage of those numbers and turned said miscues into transition points. Chelsey Henry scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the second quarter alone, with a handful coming on transition baskets.
Morgan Rathmann also had a nice night for the Lady Wildcats, turning in 10 points while Morgan Rogers and Matty Liedtke both tallied six, Corea Lowery and Brooke Stauffer four and Addi Long two.
“I felt like we came out and played with a lot of energy and intensity,” Lady Wildcats coach Lance Robbins said.
The Lady Wildcats led 14-2 at the end of the first quarter, and held a 31-9 advantage at the half.
Things didn’t go as well for the Lady Wildcats on Saturday, however, as they fell to Nixa to close out the tournament, 56-8.
Less than 24 hours after turning in perhaps their best performance of the season, the Lady Wildcats were slow out of the gate and just never got going.
“I thought the other two games (in the tournament) we were kind of flat when we got started and kind of dug ourselves a hole and just weren’t able to get back into it,” Robbins said. “We’ve just got to keep our heads up and keep working hard. I thought we showed signs over the weekend of what kind of basketball team we can be if we keep our heads up.”
Henry paced Neosho against Nixa with three points while Rogers and Stauffer both had two and Whitney Wise one.
Page 2 of 2 - Jenna Raper paced Nixa with 16 points while Alex Sorenson added 10.
The Wildcats (2-2) travel to take on Monett at 6 p.m. Monday.