If there was one thing the East Newton Lady Patriots wanted to make sure of on Monday, it was that Neosho’s Chelsey Henry, Brooke Stauffer and Morgan Rogers wouldn’t get many opportunities to score the basketball. So they varied their looks as the game went along and executed the gameplan to near perfection, as they earned a 39-33 victory over the Lady Wildcats at Neosho High School.
“We hope that that’s kind of what we hope to hang our hat on, is our defense,” Lady Patriots coach Marty Rinehart said. “We haven’t really very much this year. I kind of think our inexperience earlier in the year showed, and hopefully we were able tonight to gain some confidence that we can do that. Neosho is a very good ball club, and especially has some very good scorers. I think we did a good job on them.”
The Lady Wildcats (8-5) started the game strong and jumped out to an early lead. But the Lady Patriots quickly made adjustments, switching between a couple of difference zone looks on defense and closed the first quarter on a run to take a 14-10 lead.
The Lady Patriots (10-5) really turned up the heat defensively in the second quarter, as their zone shut down Neosho’s inside attack. Meanwhile, Neosho went cold from outside the paint and couldn’t get anything to fall. When the dust cleared they settled for only two points — free throws by Whitney Wise and Rogers — in the second and trailed 20-12 at halftime.
“We kind of went back and forth between a couple of different zones,” Rinehart said. “That’s kind of something that we’ve been working on a little bit. Henry is such a good scorer and (Rogers) is such a big kid. They’ve just got some tough matchups, so they kind of forced our hand. We did a good job.”
Despite struggling so mightily in the second quarter, Neosho’s defense kept them in it by not allowing the score to get out of hand. The Lady Wildcats only allowed six points in the second themselves, and the Lady Patriots were still well within striking distance in the second half.
After making a few adjustments themselves at halftime, the Lady Wildcats came out on fire to start the third quarter and quickly put together a 9-2 run to close within a point, 22-21, with 3:38 to go in the third quarter. But the Lady Patriots answered with a 3-pointer from Ellie White to spark a 7-0 run to quickly push it back to 29-21.
Neosho never recovered.
“I thought we came out and got off to a good start,” Neosho coach Lance Robbins said. “I told (our team) going into the game if you get off to a good start the game’s a marathon, not a sprint. East Newton’s a good basketball team and I knew they were going to hang around and make a run, and they did.
Page 2 of 2 - “We made a few adjustments there at halftime for what we were going to do against the zone and we were able to score the ball a little better in the second half, but we just didn’t move the ball as well as I would have liked. We dribbled the ball too much.”
White had a solid night for the Lady Patriots and led the team with 13 points. Teammate Kourtney Brewster netted 12 points, while Koty Cooper had five, Emily Brummett three and Aubrey McDermott, Lindey Broyles and Laura Hopper added two apiece.
Henry led the Lady Wildcats with 11 points, while Rogers turned in nine, Addi Long four, Whitney Wise three and Brooke Stauffer, Emily Harrell and Sydney Linny two each.
East Newton also won the B game, 57-31.
Kanah Burkey paced the Lady Patriots with 19 points, while Emily Sorrell had 13, Hopper 12, Cooper six, Katrina Newman five and Megan Sanders two.
Skyelar Long paced Neosho with nine points, while Opal Jackson and Linny had eight, Corea Lowery four and Regan Rogers two.
The Lady Wildcats travel to Glendale at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. East Newton hosts Seneca at 6 p.m. Thursday.