The third place game of the 2nd annual Seneca Girls Basketball Tournament could have been billed the “Preslea Reece Show.”
Reece, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, poured in 22 points to lead the Lady Mustangs to a 40-21 victory over the Diamond Lady Wildcats on Saturday at Seneca High School.
With the score deadlocked at 7-7 after one quarter — with Reece accounting for all seven of the Lady Mustangs’ points — she teamed with Courtni Smith in the second quarter as the duo went off for 18 points (Reece 11, Smith seven) to give the Lady Mustangs a 25-12 advantage at the half.
The Lady Wildcats, however, would attempt to claw back in the third as they held McDonald County to just two points — a pair of free throws by freshman Baili Nelson with 13 seconds left in the quarter — to make it 27-19 at the end of three.
But McDonald County would bounce back and closed the game on a 13-2 run in the fourth to secure the third place plaque.
“Offensively all year we’ve kind of had lapses and lulls,” Lady Mustangs coach LaDonna McClain said. “Defensively, we tried to turn it up a little bit and make sure that we’re taking care of business on that end. I thought we did that.”
With senior post player Sarah Rickman battling sickness, McClain said it was good to see others step up, namely Nelson, and help pick teammates up.
“Preslea played steady throughout the game, and I thought we got really good minutes out of Baili Nelson,” McClain said. “Sarah’s been sick, so it was good to see other step in there and help out.”
Also key for the Lady Mustangs was limiting Diamond standout Cady Littlefield, who was coming off a 26-point performance against Seneca on Tuesday. She finished with three points on Saturday.
“We knew she can score,” McClain said. “I thought we did a good job of matching up with her wherever she was on the floor.”
Reece finished with 22 points while Smith tossed in 11, Nelson five and Alisha Ballard two.
Hanna Million had 15 for the Lady Wildcats while Meghen Dresslaer had two and Shayla Jones one.
After beginning the season 0-7, the Lady Mustangs are now 6-7 since Christmas break and appear to be a team on the rise.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” McClain said. “Now is the time to start doing it. We want to finish strong going into our district. (We’ve won) two game in a row, now hopefully we can keep building off the momentum.”