SENECA — The East Newton Lady Patriots made a defensive adjustment in the second half that paid immediate and lasting dividends Saturday night against the Aurora Houns in the championship game of the Seneca tournament.

SENECA — The East Newton Lady Patriots made a defensive adjustment in the second half that paid immediate and lasting dividends Saturday night against the Aurora Houns in the championship game of the Seneca tournament.
Aurora junior guard Larissa Pyle-Moore had 14 points at halftime, as the Houns trailed by only 22-18, and she had only five after halftime, all scored after East Newton led by as many as 42-22 late in the fourth quarter.
East Newton outscored Aurora 13-0 in the third en route to a 49-35 win.
“We decided that we were going to face guard the Moore kid,” East Newton head coach Erin Rice said, “and limit her touches as much as we can. We went to a box-and-1 and clogged up the middle, which is where she likes to go. It just happened that it worked out.
“We went Emily Sorrell, Kortney Cambers and Kinsey Sorrell. All three of them took turns, because I knew that she (Pyle-Moore) would wear herself out trying to get open. It was really important not to wear ourselves out guarding her that way, so every possession, somebody else had her switching on and off. At the end, Kinsey had her in the fourth quarter for the majority of the time and did a phenomenal job.
“We talked about it in the locker room. We needed to shut them down and went with the box-and-1. It worked out really well for us.”
Koty Cooper led East Newton with 17 points and Kanah Burkey added 16.
The Lady Patriots won three games in a row to earn the tournament championship and improved to 13-8 overall on the season. East Newton defeated Seneca 47-42, Joplin 47-32 and Aurora 49-35.
“I think it’s pretty sweet,” Rice said. “Last year, we didn’t do as well as I thought we could have done in this tournament, so this year, it was definitely one of our goals. I’m just hoping that this will take us off for our next four conference games and into districts. We’ve got a big conference game coming up Monday at CJ.”
East Newton plays at Carl Junction on Monday, then Cassville on Thursday, McDonald County on Feb. 15 and Monett on Feb. 18.

Seneca beats    McDonald County for third, 33-32
The Lady Indians earned a 33-32 victory on a Maranda Cooper free throw.
She earned two free throws as time expired, missed her first one as she stood alone at the stripe and knocked down her second for the win against Seneca’s Big 8 Conference rival. The Lady Indians and the Lady Mustangs were playing for the third time season, with two tournament games in addition to their Big 8 meeting.
The game was back-and-forth all four quarters, with neither team leading by any more than four points. The Lady Mustangs led 11-7 in the second quarter and 25-21 with 6 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the game.
“We got fouled there at the end,” Seneca head coach Darryl Harbaugh said. “It was one of those you could call, don’t call. I don’t know. Sometimes they let it go and sometimes they call it. Mac County, they’re tough. They’re getting tougher. All year long, their big three inside, with their height, and they’re handling the ball a lot better. They make it tough on everybody.
“They played hard. We had a hard time at the line shooting free throws. The girls will play hard. They kept hammering and never gave up. They didn’t quit. I was proud of them.”
Both teams had key players foul out late in the game — Seneca’s Peyton Clouse with 1:22 remaining, then McDonald County’s Baili Nelson only 11 seconds later.
In the last minute, Seneca’s Willow Rhoades missed a 3-point shot, Rhoades broke up Cloee Helm’s potential layup opportunity, McDonald County senior Dakota Bunch’s layup in the final 10 seconds rimmed out, Seneca missed two free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining and unfortunately, for the Lady Mustangs, they could not corral the rebound and Cooper created her opportunity to go to the line.
Seneca improved to 11-10 on the season and the Lady Indians return to action Thursday against Monett.
McDonald County dropped to 4-18 and host Providence Academy on Tuesday.

Neosho beats     Eugene in Central Bank Shootout,  62-56
JEFFERSON CITY — The Lady Wildcats made their Jefferson City jaunt worthwhile with a 62-56 overtime victory over Eugene on Saturday.
Neosho outscored Eugene 13-7 in overtime, the Lady Wildcats matching their entire point total from a second half when they scored five points in the third and eight in the fourth.
Neosho had scored 20 in the first quarter and 16 in the second, but its point production considerably dipped in the second half.
In that overtime, Allison Burr scored half of her 12 points for the contest, as she buried a pair of 3-point shots in the extra period.
The Lady Wildcats finished 5 of 6 at the stripe in overtime, with Sydney Linny 3-4 and Caitlyn Jordon 2-2.
Ashley Talley added a single tally in the overtime, her first points since a 3-point shot she knocked down in the second quarter.
The Lady Wildcats made eight trifectas on the day — Burr and Jordon with two each, then Talley, Tori Frazier, Makayla Hayes and Linny each with one.
Jordon led the Lady Wildcats’ attack with 15 points, then Linny added 14, Burr 12 and Hayes 11. Talley picked up five, Frazier three and Emilee Anderson two.
Neosho improved to 10-9 overall on the season and returns to action Monday with a tough Central Ozark Conference Large tilt against Republic.
The Lady Tigers, ranked No. 1 in Class 5, improved to 16-1 overall and 2-0 COC Large with their 61-39 win Thursday night over Webb City. Republic made 24 of their 28 free throws to effectively put away the Lady Cardinals.