Editor’s note: Scoring results for Neosho were not available at press time. Those statistics will be printed at a later date once they are received.
If their record and dominant play are any indications, the Neosho seventh grade girls basketball team could only be beginning to collect championships this season after claiming the title at the Tri-County Tournament on Thursday.
After jumping ahead with a 12-0 lead to start the game behind nine points from Allison Burr, the Lady Wildcats held off a charging Webb City team and upended the Lady Cardinals, 34-14, in the championship game of the tournament.
The Lady Wildcats were outscored by the Lady Cardinals in the second quarter, 8-6, but still led 19-10 at the half.
With the score holding the same to begin the fourth quarter, the Lady Wildcats utilized a pressure defense to force the Lady Cardinals into mistakes. Those turnovers bred points for the Lady Wildcats as they began to pull away.
Laken Schnackenberg recorded three steals in the final quarter while teammate Jessica VanLear scored five consecutive points as Neosho began to put distance between itself and Webb City.
Other key contributors in the game for the Lady Wildcats were Cami Roy, Amy Morris, Ashley Talley and Makayla Hayes.
Neosho (13-0) has earned the top seed for the Central Ozark Conference Tournament, which is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday against eighth-seeded Carthage at Webb City Junior High.