The Bentonville Lady Tigers showed why they are two-time defending Neosho Holiday Classic champions Thursday night.
They took on a much younger McDonald County team, defeating them 56-14. Bentonville has four returning starters from last year, while the Lady Mustangs only have one in sophomore Preslea Reece.
“Not taking anything away from Bentonville, they are a great team,” Lady Mustangs coach LaDonna McClain said. “They are more experienced, they make their shots and they have depth. We’re a young team and we’re suffering from growing pains. They were able to put too much pressure on us and we’re just not able to handle it, yet. I told the team the only way to get better is play, and they did.”
Trouble started early for the Lady Mustangs when Reece, the leading scorer from their first game of the tournament, was charged with three fouls halfway into the first quarter. McClain pulled her, giving the added height advantage to Bentonville.
At the end of the first quarter the Lady Tigers had a seven-point advantage, 11-4.
The Lady Tigers tightened their grip on the Lady Mustangs by knocking in 23 points in the second quarter, verses the Lady Mustangs’ one.
The Lady Mustangs came back in the second half with Reece on the court, which helped dampen Bentonville’s dominance under the boards. The Lady Tigers had controlled the boards for a quarter and half, but with Reece back in, and with help from teammate Cendy Garcia, who picked up two of McDonald County’s points, the Lady Mustangs were back in business.
Or so it seemed. In the end, however, the deficit was too much, and the Lady Tigers hit seven three-pointers in the game to put it away.
The Lady Mustangs where able to slow the Lady Tigers’ scoring in the third quarter and managed to hold them to four points in the fourth.
Taylor Lee led the Lady Tigers with 13 points while Kindal Coleman turned in 10, Regan Laird two, Jordan Martin eight, Brooke Mabeus four, Deanna Adkins eight, Rashaun Casey eight and Jamayne Potts three.
Reece led McDonald County with eight, Baili Nelson two, Courtni Smith one, Sarah Rickman two and Macy Swink one.