WEBB CITY — A 17-0 deficit in the first quarter would prove to fell most basketball teams and that’s exactly what the Neosho Lady Wildcats found themselves behind during their Class 4, District 12 semifinal game Wednesday night against top seed, three-time defending district champion, and returning Class 4 state runner-up Carl Junction.
The Lady Wildcats composed themselves after that brutal start, but it proved to be too little, too late during a 65-44 season-ending defeat.
“We’ve got to stop digging a hole for ourselves,” Neosho head coach Matt Hixson said. “You’ve got to credit Carl Junction. They’re one heckuva team. Coach (Brad) Shorter, he does an awesome job with them. To come out and face that kind of pressure with that kind of length and that kind of size and everything, it’s hard for even the best teams.
“I felt like second quarter, we finally started settling down and getting some good looks on offense and executing a little bit.”
Neosho finished its season 8-18 overall, its first under Hixson as head coach, and the Lady Wildcats managed to pick up their first district tournament victory since 2009.
“First of all, I couldn’t be more proud to say that I coached Madi Flynn,” Hixson said. “She’s had a heckuva senior season and I don’t know how I would have done this without her.
“Tonight, I think it showed more than anything. We have a bright future. We have some kids that played a lot of minutes this year that have another year, two years or three years of eligibility. We have the tools. Madi’s going to be hard to replace, that’s for sure, but I think we have the tools to do some good things in the future and I look forward to what the future holds for this team.”
Playing her final high school game, Neosho’s lone senior Madison Flynn became the first Lady Wildcat player to reach the scoreboard Wednesday and she netted six of the team’s first eight points en route to 10 overall.
Olivia Hixson continued one of the best outside shooting seasons in program history Wednesday with four 3-point shots propelling the sophomore guard to a team-high 18 points.
Several other Lady Wildcats found the scoring column: Maile Gindling four points, Brylee King and Kristy Pace three each, and Melia Robertson and Mary Dunbar two each.
Like most teams, Neosho had trouble handling Carl Junction’s outstanding junior post Katie Scott, who towers over every Lady Wildcat defender.
Neosho trailed 40-18 at halftime and Scott netted 22 first-half points.
Scott finished with a game-high 26 points and she tallied some big numbers in just three quarters of play with nine rebounds, a pair of assists, and three blocked shots.