CARTHAGE — The Neosho Lady Wildcats made it a 18-15 game in the second half Monday night against Central Ozark Conference rival Carthage.
It seemed as if the Lady Wildcats could come away with their first victory in conference this season.
Unfortunately, though, for the Lady Wildcats, Carthage scored 14 of the game’s last 16 points en route to a 32-17 victory for the Lady Tigers.
On a night when both teams shot under 25 percent from the floor (Carthage 12 for 52, 23 percent and Neosho 6-32, 19 percent), Carthage managed its 20 more shots because Neosho committed 19 turnovers and Carthage grabbed 18 offensive rebounds with four players securing at least three.
Neosho played its first game this season without lone senior Madison Flynn, the Lady Wildcats’ leading scorer who got hurt the game prior against Ozark.
Hailey Fullerton scored a game-high 10 points for Carthage, nearly secured a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds, and her floor game included two assists, three steals, and four blocked shots against the smaller Lady Wildcats.
Jillian Brunnert and Karley Crowe each added six points for the Lady Tigers, while Lexi Black and Sierrah Negrette combined for the team’s other 10 points with five each.
Mia Duncan made up for no points with four rebounds, two assists, five steals, and eight deflections.
Meanwhile, Neosho scuffled offensively for the second contest in a row, generating 17 points each in back-to-back losses.
Olivia Hixson made a pair of trifectas for her six points, Brylee King and Maile Gindling each hit trifectas of their own to account for their only points, Kristy Pace added three points behind an old-fashioned basket and one free throw, and Avery Renfro scored two points.
Neosho shot 4-12 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range and 2-20 (10 percent) on two-point shots.
Gindling and Pace each led the Lady Wildcats with six rebounds, while Michelle Lindsay added five rebounds and two assists. Renfro had four rebounds, Hixson three, and King tallied two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block.
Neosho dropped to 6-14 overall and 0-5 COC, and the Lady Wildcats’ quest for their first conference victory under head coach Matt Hixson did not get any easier with Thursday night’s contest against the Branson Lady Pirates.
That’s mostly because the Lady Pirates feature dynamic scorer Priscilla Williams, who surpassed 1,000 career points at Branson during a recent 56-51 victory over Webb City. Williams needed 10 points for the milestone and she torched Webb City for 31 points.
Branson just handed perennial conference stalwart Nixa a 40-36 defeat on Monday. Williams had 26 points and several blocked shots against the Lady Eagles.
All of the COC schools have faced Williams for the first time this season, since the ballyhooed Katy (Texas) transfer missed conference play last season after being suspended from the team and withdrawing from school.