CARL JUNCTION — For a 34-33 final score, the Carl Junction Classic semifinal game Tuesday night between the Neosho Lady Wildcats and the Nevada Lady Tigers sure did feature just about a little bit of everything.

Wild momentum swings early in the game.

Long stretches of empty possessions for both teams over the last three quarters.

Big defensive plays, offensive rebounds, and outside shots.

In the end, it was Neosho senior Emilee Kivett’s offensive rebound off a missed free throw and second-chance basket with 2.1 seconds remaining that punched Neosho’s ticket into the championship game Thursday night against tournament host Carl Junction. See Tuesday’s edition of the Daily News for a story and photos from Thursday night.

Carl Junction defeated the Webb City JV 53-22 in the nightcap Tuesday.

Neosho head coach Grant Berendt touched on the unusual nature of the win against Nevada.

“It was a very unusual game,” Berendt said. “Nevada’s a very good, young team. They’re all sophomores and they have a good mix of guards that can shoot. They have three kids that can really stroke the ball and they’ve got a good mix of bigs inside that can rebound the ball well.

“I thought our kids defensively did just about everything that we had talked about in scout, because we didn’t have a whole lot of time to prepare. We did a walk-through today and a little bit of a film session on the bus, and the kids responded well with a good defensive effort.

“The offensive side is a different story right now. We’re still trying to figure things out. It’s a work in progress and that’s a good thing. I don’t think this will be us offensively throughout the season. The kids are trying to find their way early and they’re playing with different combinations of kids. We’ll get there.”

Part of the offensive struggles came from a poor shooting night at the stripe. The Lady Wildcats missed four free throws alone in the final 53 seconds of the contest.

“Our book had us for 2 for 11,” Berendt said. “We are better than that, I tell you. It’s a mental thing right now for our kids. We shoot free throws every morning and the kids will log them on my white board every morning, and there’s very few I see under 50 percent. Right now, as a team, we’re shooting well under 50 percent in games. We’ll get that fixed. It’s a confidence thing.”

The Lady Wildcats’ defense delivered in the final minute, forcing Nevada into a pair of turnovers. Allison Burr made a key defensive play with 37.9 ticks left, deflecting an inbounds pass intended for Nevada sophomore point guard Calli Beshore and the ball went out of bounds off Beshore. Neosho pressure forced a Nevada overthrow after Kivett’s basket and a timeout.

“We are a pressing team,” Berendt said. “With them having that many guards and our bench being a little shorter, we decided to token pressure a little bit. We had some timeouts late and our kids had that energy late to go put on some pressure and they rotated well. Allison Burr got a great deflection off Beshore and it set us up for what ended up being a great offensive rebound and a putback.”

Nevada’s 33 points matched the highest point total against Neosho in four games this season. The Lady Wildcats held both Jasper and Seneca below 30 points.

Kivett led Neosho with 10 points, while Burr added nine, Caitlyn Jordon seven, Makayla Hayes six, and Tori Frazier two.

Different members of the deep senior class keep stepping up different night with big games. On Tuesday, it was Kivett. During last Monday night’s win against Seneca, it was Frazier. Burr and Hayes have been steady throughout the season, and Jordon’s working her way back into form after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

“It’s good for our depth right now,” Berendt said. “Their kids did a good job of taking away Allison and Makayla early on, I think they combined for near 20 (15) but they didn’t score for long periods of time. Caitlyn Jordon will get it going. She didn’t shoot a great percentage tonight. She’s a good shooter. Emilee Kivett stepped up and hit a couple threes, and was a great spark for us off the bench. We decided to change things up and she’s doing a great job of doing good things in that spot.”

The early wild momentum swings of the game included a 7-2 start for Nevada answered by a 12-0 run for a 14-7 Neosho lead still in the first quarter. Hayes capped off that 12-0 Lady Wildcat run with a banked 3-point shot.

Nevada scored eight unanswered to end the first and start the second for a 15-14 lead.

The game then settled into a mode of less extreme scoring runs, partly since both teams struggled scoring the ball after the first quarter.

NEOSHO 34, NEVADA 33
Neosho    14 5 7 8 — 34
Nevada    10 8 7 8 — 33
NEOSHO (4-0) — Emilee Kivett 10, Allison Burr 9, Caitlyn Jordon 7, Makayla Hayes 6, Tori Frazier 2.
NEVADA (1-2) — Calli Beshore 11, Payge Dahmer 9, Hailey Jackson 6, Teagan Charles 4, Hailee Lundine 3.