GRANBY — The McDonald County Lady Mustangs trailed their Big 8 Conference West rival East Newton by six points with 2 minutes, 22 seconds remaining on the clock Thursday night.
It sure looked as if the Lady Mustangs were facing their seventh consecutive loss.
However, with first a second-chance opportunity and then a pressure defense that created four straight points and a tie score, McDonald County erased that deficit and junior point guard Ragan Wilson's late drive and finish at the basket gave the Lady Mustangs a 34-32 lead en route to a 35-32 victory.
Wilson picked a great time for her only five points of the game, as they accounted for the game's last five points.
McDonald County improved to 4-10 overall and 1-2 Big 8 West. The Lady Mustangs surpassed last season's win total and they return to action Tuesday on the road against Big 8 West rival Cassville.
East Newton dropped to 5-13 overall and 0-4 Big 8 West. The Lady Patriots returned to action Monday night against Aurora.
East Newton and McDonald County exchanged quarters in the first half Tuesday.
The Lady Patriots rolled out to a 14-4 lead after one quarter and freshman point guard Kenzie Massey had the hot shooting touch with nine points. Massey would later get in foul trouble and foul out with 2:45 remaining in regulation; her fouling out had a major impact on the outcome.
Early in the second quarter, Madison McDermott's second-chance opportunity cashed in gave East Newton a 17-4 lead, but the Lady Patriots would not score again until 3:16 in the third quarter on a Makenna Brasier basket. Brasier tied it up at 19.
McDonald County rattled off the last 13 points of the first half for a tie score and took its first lead of the game with the first basket of the second half. During that 13-0 second quarter finish, Rita Santillan and Mattie Leach provided all the points with Santillan's eight highlighted by a pair of shots from long range and Leach's five highlighted by an old-fashioned three-point play.
After a slow third quarter for both teams, East Newton regained the lead in the fourth quarter, helped in part by earning the double bonus for the entire fourth. The Lady Patriots, though, left several points on the table with missed free throws.
Santillan led McDonald County with 14 points and Leach added seven, Wilson five, Lily Allman three, and Caitlyn Barton, Kristin Penn, and Alexia Kitlen two each.
Massey finished with 11 points (her only basket after the first coming in the third quarter) and McDermott and Brasier each added nine. Katie Kester's two free throws accounted for her only points and East Newton's final two, while Kendra Hickman added one point on a free throw in the Lady Patriots' great first quarter.