Possibly the best two girls teams in Barry County faced each other last Thursday night. The Southwest Lady Trojans hosted the Exeter Lady Tigers in what was a classic battle.
Southwest came into the contest on a seven-game winning streak and a previous 50-43 victory over the Lady Tigers. Exeter had just lost to Blue Eye two days before and now were looking for a positive note and vengeance.
Southwest's Jessica Mitchell, Chelsea Sneed and Brittany Clifton combined for 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the home team out to a 19-14 lead. Whitney Edie scored 10 points in the quarter for Exeter.
Southwest continued their rebounding dominance in the second quarter, grabbing 16 and giving them a 29-5 ratio for the half. Yet, the Lady Tigers were able to make a 9-3 run and cut the lead to one at 24-23. Southwest pushed back and led 36-27 at the half.
The visitors came out of the locker room down, but not out. Exeter used good ball control to cut into the lead, forcing the Lady Trojans into six turnovers as compared to their one. The Lady Tigers then capitalized on those, scoring 10 hustle points in the frame. Exeter did tie the game twice, but the Lady Trojans did not give up the lead and ended the quarter at 49-45.
In the final quarter of play, Edie led the Lady Tigers on one last venture, scoring 6 points and grabbing six rebounds and helping Exeter gain the lead for the first time at 58-56. However, Southwest fought back, first tying the score and then taking the lead at 60-58.
Exeter had a shot to tie the game with just a few seconds remaining. The Lady Tigers got the ball into the half-court and then gave the ball to Edie on a hand-off screen. She drove into the lane but met defenders there as Southwest did a great job of staying grounded. Forced to get the ball through the defenders' outstretched hands, Edie's shot did not go in and the Lady Trojans earned the 60-58 victory.
For the Lady Trojans Mitchell had an outstanding game. She scored 23 points to go along with 13 rebounds. The junior also hit 88 percent of her shots from the line (7-8). Jennifer Finuf also had a great game off the bench with 12 points and nine rebounds. Sneed also helped Southwest, scoring 12 and taking down eight boards. Other contributors for Southwest were: Stacy Hobbs, 2 points, two steals and five assists; Clifton, 4 points and eight rebounds; Kayla Ferguson, 5 points and four assists; and Kelsey Henry, 2 points, three rebounds and one steal.
For Exeter, Edie led the charge, scoring 30 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Shelby Bowman also had 11 points.
As a team, Southwest tallied a high of 60 points, grabbed a total of 45 rebounds and they drew 24 fouls, resulting in 29 free-throw attempts. Southwest was only able to shoot 62 percent from the line.
Exeter forced 16 turnovers and drew 19 fouls, resulting in 25 free throw attempts. The Lady Tigers also held their rivals in check from distance, allowing only 29 percent shooting from three-point range (2-7).
In other action, Southwest also hosted Clever this week. After falling behind 16-7 in the first quarter, the home team rallied, and largely due to a 22-2 fourth quarter, won 59-45. Mitchell led the Lady Trojans with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Sneed also did well, scoring 15. The Lady Trojans record is now 21-2 overall. Even before the Exeter contest. the Lady Trojans had clinched the Ozark 7 Championship with an impressive record of 11-1.
Exeter faced Blue Eye this week at home. The Lady Bulldogs led by only 3 after the first quarter but pulled away down the stretch and won 67-47. Edie scored 25 for Exeter.
The Lady Tigers record now stands at 13-6 (5-4).