CARL JUNCTION — Both the Seneca Lady Indians and the Jasper Lady Eagles had a rough start in their Carl Junction Classic game Tuesday night, but the Lady Indians eventually righted the ship to come out with a 49-33 victory and punch their ticket to the championship game Thursday night against Nevada.
Seneca defeated Carl Junction 49-48 on Monday night, a huge victory for the Lady Indians since the host team received a No. 3 ranking in Class 4. The Lady Bulldogs finished second in the state last season, falling 69-35 to Incarnate Word for the title.
On Tuesday night, Jasper junior Kristy Holliday opened the scoring with a pair of free throws 1 minute, 44 seconds in and it remained a 2-0 score until Jasper's Sydney Webb hit two more free throws at 2:09.
Seneca senior Sarah Hoover made the Lady Indians' first basket at 1:47 and Kayla French gave the Lady Indians a 5-4 lead with a trifecta.
In the second and third quarters, though, that's when freshman guard Aliya Grotjohn heated up and changed the complexion of the game, with six 3-point shots (including four in the third) propelling her to a game-high 20 points. Thanks to Grotjohn's hot shooting touch, Seneca produced 20 points in the third stanza and took a commanding 39-22 lead entering the final quarter. (Seneca led 19-10 at halftime.)
Hoover and fellow senior Jo Beard battled foul trouble for the Lady Indians, and Hoover fouled out with 5:06 remaining. Grotjohn picked up her fourth foul 50 seconds earlier, but she already had done the damage.
In the fourth quarter, Jasper head coach Kent Anderegg had Webb shadow Grotjohn.
Seneca entered Thursday's night championship clash against their new Big 8 Conference rival 3-0 on the season.
Nevada, 2-0, rolled 47-18 over Neosho on Tuesday and 53-28 over McDonald County on Monday. Nevada sophomore guard Alison Bower averaged 16 points in those victories, producing 20 points in the victory against McDonald County. The Lady Tigers won 18 games last season and reached the Class 4 sectionals after their 69-66 victory over Pleasant Hill for the district title. Thus, a victory Thursday night for Class 3 Seneca would be two victories against Class 4 state qualifiers from last season.
Seneca and Nevada will face each other in conference play on January 15 in Nevada.