A wild finish was only fitting for the wild contest that ensued between the Pierce City Lady Eagles and Neosho Lady Wildcats at the Neosho Holiday Classic on Thursday at Neosho Middle School.
In a heated contest that even saw fans jawing across the floor at one another, both teams did battle until the bitter end, well, bitter for the Lady Wildcats, as Pierce City scored with four seconds left to knock off Neosho, 49-47, in the second round of pool play.
After trialing by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Lady Wildcats closed the gap late and put themselves in a position to win. Victory nearly became a reality, too, as senior Morgan Rathmann, who scored four points in the game, stole an inbounds pass and scored with 14 seconds left to tie it at 47 apiece.
With no timeouts remaining, the Wildcats scrambled back on defense as the Lady Eagles quickly pushed the ball down the court. In a confusing frenzy, the Lady Wildcats lost contain and two Lady Eagles roamed free under the basket. There, Pierce City junior Christine Younker grabbed an open look at the basket and put the finishing touches on the game with four seconds left.
A final cross-court heave by Rathmann at the buzzer fell in vain.
“I’m proud of our effort,” Lady Wildcats coach Lance Robbins said. “I thought we fought hard to get back in the game. It was an ugly game at times, but I felt like, once again, tonight we played well in spurts.
“I think we showed what kind of team we can be in spurts, but we’ve yet to show the consistency of playing four quarter of basketball. Tomorrow’s another day. Hopefully we’ll come back (tonight) and put together four good quarters of basketball.”
Chelsea Henry had a nice game in the paint for the Lady Wildcats with 15 points while teammate Matty Liedtke was a force from long range with four 3-pointers to help account for her 14 points. Emily Harrell added four points while Corea Lowery finished with six and Morgan Rogers four.
Emily Ashley paced the Lady Eagles with 16 points while Krishna Merriman added 14, Becca Hatfield two, Bailee Hayward seven, Christine Younker six, Amber Wagner two and Shania Hogan two.
The Lady Wildcats (4-5) take on Van Buren at 5 p.m. today.