Neosho’s presence in the paint was too much for Seneca to handle on Saturday as the Lady Wildcats downed the Lady Indians 44-30 for fifth place in the 2nd annual Seneca Girls Basketball Tournament at Seneca High School.
While Molli Cooper was busy keeping the Lady Indians in it with her outside game, Neosho’s Morgan Rogers and Chelsey Henry chipped away inside the post, accounting for 29 of the Lady Wildcats’ points and leaving Seneca with no answer for their presence.
Rogers, who had 15 points in the game, had seven in the first quarter,while Henry, who finished with 14, scored 10 in the second quarter.
That helped Neosho build a 25-19 lead at halftime. Despite Cooper’s sharp shooting — she had 15 points, including three 3-pointers — Neosho held the Lady Indians to 11 points in the second half.
“I feel like our defensive intensity and our ability to guard is there every night,” Neosho coach Lance Robbins said. “Just some nights we struggle to score. Tonight, thankfully, we were able to score.”
Robbins said both Rogers and Henry have grown their games over the past two weeks, and have become key components to the Wildcats’ success.
“We’re not a great jump shooting team,” Robbins said. “We know that, so we’re trying to play to our strengths. We’ve tried to make a concerted effort to get the ball inside to them so that we can take advantage of (their talent).”
“We’ve been doing a really good job the last three games of getting the ball inside and making buckets. I felt like we were able to play a full four quarters.”
On the flipside, the Lady Indians played well despite being shorthanded for the game. Five players scored in the affair, led by Cooper’s 15, as Elena Wood had five, Courtney Cook four, Annie Howard three and Willow Rhoades two.
“We played OK today,” Indians coach Bob Coffey said. “We were a bit short-handed, and went through several stretches in the game where we had trouble scoring. Neosho did a good job feeding their posts and going to the boards.”
Addi Long and Brooke Stauffer had four points apiece for the Lady Wildcats while Morgan Rathmann pitched in three and Whitney Wise added two.
Both Neosho and Seneca dropped games on Friday.
The Lady Wildcats, after leading 22-8 at halftime, scored only two points in the second half and lost to East Newton, 32-24.
Rogers led Neosho with 11 points while Henry tossed in five, Rathmann four and Wise and Stauffer two each.
The Lady Indians fell to Willard, 58-41. Willard outscored Seneca 18-7 in the second quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - Mirana Heath had 12 points to lead the Lady Indians while Cook had 11, Cooper finished with nine, Rhoades one, Howard two, Rachel Butterfield four and Wood two.
Overall, the tournament was a success.
“We would like to thank everyone that helped make our second annual tournament a success,” Coffey said. “Our timekeepers, scorekeepers, announcers and various volunteers all did a great job. The community was once again outstanding in making this event possible for our student athletes.”
Rogers and Rathmann were both selected to the all-tournament for the Lady Wildcats while Cooper made it for Seneca.