For most of Friday night’s Homecoming contest, the Neosho Lady Wildcats struggled at the free throw line against rival McDonald County.
Neosho, though, picked the right time to heat up at the stripe and came away with a 46-42 victory over the Lady Mustangs.
Neosho senior Madison Flynn and Olivia Hixson were the players who made the key free throws late — Flynn hit four straight and Hixson added four more.
Flynn and Hixson, who both earned all-tournament honors in the home Neosho Holiday Classic, combined for 31 points, Flynn with a game-high 16 points and Hixson not far behind with 15.
Michelle Lindsay had four points, Brylee King and Maile Gindling three each, Halley Merrell and Avery Renfro two each, and Melea Robertson one.
Neosho ended a six-game losing streak and improved to 6-11.
Lily Allman led McDonald County with 14 points, Kristin Penn added 12, and Ragan Wilson and Rita Santillan combined for 12 more points with Wilson seven and Santillan five.
McDonald County had won two straight games and dropped to 5-11.
Early on Friday night, it certainly did not look promising for the Lady Wildcats, as McDonald County stormed out to a 8-0 lead.
Then again, when the teams played each other in the Carl Junction Classic, Neosho came back from a 14-point deficit in the second half, forced overtime with a late free throw by Gindling, and eventually prevailed 55-50 in overtime.
On Friday night, Neosho had the additional challenge of working around four personal fouls by Hixson and King. Hixson picked her fourth with 3 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the third and King joined Hixson late in the quarter.
The Lady Wildcats have won six consecutive games against McDonald County, dating back to 2016 with two victories against McDonald County in each of the past two seasons.
Neosho returns to action Tuesday night at home against conference and district rival Carl Junction. The Lady Wildcats lost that earlier meeting 65-34, as Neosho struggled with turnovers and even slowing down Carl Junction’s outstanding post Katie Scott, a junior who already surpassed 1,000 career points and who committed to NCAA Division I Missouri State back in June.
McDonald County, meanwhile, plays in the Seneca Invitational with games beginning Monday.